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National Guard Leaves L.A. as Protests Continue Across City

June 8, 2020 by Brian Champlin
National Guard on Broadway during Black Lives Matter protest
National Guard on Broadway during Black Lives Matter protest on June 2. Photo by: Christina Champlin

Sunday evening, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that most National Guard units have left Los Angeles. A small number of units will remain stationed “nearby” through June 10 to provide emergency support if necessary, Garcetti said via a statement.

Guard troops were sent to L.A. on May 30 to provide support amid citywide protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Lousiville, and Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia. While the protests were largely peaceful, the first few days of unrest included multiple alleged incidents of looting, theft, and fire, which prompted the city to request additional resources. However, in the week following that request, tensions have apparently deescalated enough that the city feels comfortable allowing the Guard to leave.

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“I’m proud that our city has been peaceful this week—and that our residents are leading a powerful movement to make Los Angeles more just, equitable, and fair for Black Angelenos, communities of color, and all of our workers, youth, and families,” Garcetti said.

And while the protests have continued, they’ve also grown in size. Yesterday’s Hollywood protest included over 20,000 estimated attendees, one of the largest events since the demonstrations began more than a week ago.

At the same time, a peace walk and ride in Compton featured horseback riders from the Compton Cowboys. NBA player Russell Westbrook joined the protestors and spoke as over 1,000 gathered outside Compton City Hall.

On Sunday morning, a group of cyclists joined a bike rally along Western Ave in Leimert Park, while Saturday saw hundreds gather in Altadena for a protest down Lincoln Ave.

Protest attendance continues to stay high in part because it appears the demonstrations are working. On June 3, Mayor Garcetti said the city won’t increase the LAPD’s budget this fiscal year, instead opting to allocate some $250 million to “jobs, health, education, and…healing” focused on Los Angeles’s “Black community… as well as communities of color, women, and people who have been left behind for too long.”

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis City Council voted Sunday to defund and dismantle the city’s police department with the intent to replace it with a new model of public safety.

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