After a surreal weekend of nationwide demonstrations hijacked by riots, looting, and violence, word came that the George Floyd protests were coming to Venice on Tues. March 2, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. No one knew what to expect. Santa Monica had just been destroyed with over 100 stores looted and several set on fire, and a police officer had been shot in a drive by on Rose Ave. and Lincoln. In addition, several Venice stores: Whole Foods, CVS on Rose Ave. and Main St., Medmen on both Abbot Kinney and on Lincoln blvd., had been looted as well.
Weary of what might be coming, beginning Monday morning most shop owners boarded up their stores and spray painted messages of solidarity with the protestors on the plywood, hoping to avoid having their property destroyed or stolen. Artist Jules Muck had painted portraits of George Floyd on many of the boarded up businesses.
There was much speculation on social media regarding the protest. Who was the organizer, did anyone in Venice know her? Or was it really a him? Why Abbot Kinney Blvd.? Is the organizer advocating for violence? Is the event a fraud? Is it canceled? etc. etc.
Game Time: As dawn broke on Tuesday, there was a heavy police presence in Venice and LAPD choppers over head, in additional to the National Guard. Los Angeles County Sheriff was holding the line at the entry to Marina del Rey. By 8:00 a.m. there were about 200 protestors at the intersection of Abbot Kinney and Venice Blvd. chanting and waving signs. As the morning wore on, the crowd grew and made laps around town, hitting Lincoln Blvd., Rose Ave. Main St., Windward Circle, Oceanfront Walk, and Washington Blvd.
The protestors paused and took a knee several times for a moment of silence and gave speeches.
Driving alongside was the Venice Ball’s Hoopsbus which gave folks the opportunity to play some quick basketball in the middle of it all.
As well, Bat Man star Ben Affleck joined the march.
One ironic moment was when a black man fainted in the middle of the street near Venice and Abbot Kinney and people in the crowd yelled out, “he fainted, call the police.”
The crowd was mostly young people, aged 15 to 50, and LAPD blocked traffic for them so they could march down the middle of the street in safety.
Most importantly, there was no violence, vandalism, or looting that we saw or heard of. That said, there were some tense moments between people, and some individuals attempted to antagonize the police. All in all it was a HUGE win for Venice. People came together in this peaceful protest, acted civil, and sent a powerful message.
Here is a the June 3 message from LAPD’s Captain Commanding Officer Steve Embrich.
“Rightful protest yesterday in Venice. Venice…Yesterday… Over 500 community members walked together and we heard you LOUD AND CLEAR!! No one injured, nothing broken. What a great community! We are proud to stand by you and will always try to protect and serve you better.”
Venice Paparazzi was on the scene! View pics below.