In La Mesa, protesters gather to demand justice for women of color

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LA MESA (CNS) – Roughly 200 demonstrators gathered Saturday at La Mesa City Hall to demand justice for women of color as the city set temporary restrictions in a two-block downtown zone to facilitate a peaceful event.

Roughly 200 demonstrators gathered Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, at La Mesa City Hall to demand justice for women of color. (Photo by Andrew Nomura)

The “We Demand Justice For Our Women Of Color” event was promoted as a way to seek justice for Breonna Taylor, killed in March by police in Louisville, Ky., and Vanessa Guillen, a soldier at Fort Hood, in Texas, who was killed by another soldier in April, according to social media statements.

In response to the planned protest, the La Mesa Police Department issued a statement Friday warning of traffic delays in the area.

“Members of the public planning to visit the downtown La Mesa area are advised they may experience traffic delays and businesses may be closed earlier than usual,” said Lt. Greg Runge of the LMPD. “We ask those participating in the protest to also respect the rights of others by not blocking roadways.”

Runge said the police department tried to contact organizers of the protest and march to talk about ensuring a safe environment, but were unsuccessful.

City officials also announced a temporary executive order Saturday banning weapons, boards, spray paint and other items within the downtown zone. The order went into effect noon Saturday and will remain in effect until 5:30 a.m. Sunday.

The protected zone is an area bounded by University Avenue, Allison Drive and Spring Street that includes the police department, city hall and library.

La Mesa experienced a riot May 30 when a peaceful protest over police use of force turned into violent acts, including arson fires to businesses and looting.

The protest was advertised on social media as scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. at police headquarters, but was changed to the La Mesa Branch Library on Allison Avenue, and eventually beginning at La Mesa City Hall, also on Allison.

New fencing and concrete barriers were erected Saturday morning around police headquarters.

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