Yesterday evening, thousands of people across the country took to the streets to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.
There were reports of demonstrations in New York, Oakland, San Francisco, DC, Atlanta, Florida, and a bunch of other places.
I headed down to the protest in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I got there a little late, so missed the part when the protesters marched ON THE FREEWAY, shutting it down for 30 minutes.
When I joined the protest, they were walking through the Arlington Heights neighborhood. There were maybe 200 people marching.
As the protest moved, it was blocked several times by police lines, which began closing in.
After turning back a few times, the protesters managed to break through the police and made a break for it.
But they were stopped by another police line. A few people, like this guy, tried to get through, but the police managed to stop them by hitting them in the chest with batons.
I'm not entirely sure what happened next. According to the LAPD, the protesters started throwing bottles and rocks at them, so they opened fire with rubber bullets.
From where I was standing, I didn't see anything get thrown until after the police had already shot into the crowd three or four times (including at a guy who was laying on the ground.)
Obviously, I was not looking at every single person that was there, so I could've missed some stuff getting tossed. Just saying what I saw.
Then there was a bit of a fight. Which was pretty one sided. One side was armed with batons and rubber bullets, the other with rocks and, er, fixed-gear bikes.
Eventually, the crowd backed off and headed down a side street.
This girl got hit in the chest by whatever it was the cops fired. I posted the picture to Twitter, and the general consensus was that it was either rubber bullets, bean bags, or bees.
Protesters were pissed and started gathering up bricks and bottles. Thankfully, they were never actually used.
As the march moved through the neighborhood, people came out of their houses to cheer them on and give them water.
Then, mysteriously, the police disappeared. And it all became pretty calm, the protesters marched along Western Ave., across the width of the road, blocking traffic in both directions.
They marched A LOT, actually. Like, for several hours.
It was all fairly uneventful. Except when this bus driver refused to honk his horn as a show of solidarity. These guys reached through his window, honked his horn, then spat in his face. It was a pretty huge bummer.
But generally, people were peaceful.
Then night fell.
There was some dispute as to which direction to head. Some people wanted to head down to Crenshaw, some to Downtown, some to Hollywood, some to Beverly Hills. So the march took a weird route that zig-zagged all over the city while people made their minds up.
Eventually the group decided to head to the Hollywood and Highland intersection, which is kinda like LA's Times Square.
Occasionally stopping along the way at a major intersection to stage a sit-in.
A couple of blocks from Hollywood and Highland, the police resurfaced, blocking the protesters from the front and the back on a side street.
By this point, they had been marching for almost six hours.
As it was Hollywood, hundreds of tourists gathered to watch, and several other police lines formed to keep them back.
Eventually the protesters managed to get through and held a rally/sit-in in the middle of Hollywood and Highland. Which lasted for an hour or so.
Then, for some reason, Elmo showed up. A news crew interviewed him and he did the whole thing in character and with the Elmo voice. It was pretty awkward.
The cops sent their friendliest looking officer (the sitcom dad pictured above) into the crowd to appeal for peace with the protesters.
Everyone was being pretty reasonable.
It didn't work, though, and the crowd took off again. Continuing to march down Hollywood Blvd.
As they passed Showgirls, the strippers came out to cheer them on.
Then, suddenly, the crowd broke into a run and attempted to storm the W Hotel. Sending a huge crowd of girls dressed like Real Housewives running for cover.
The staff moved super fast and managed to block the doorway, keeping the protesters out.
So they ran through the valet area, knocking over heat lamps, velvet ropes, and signs. This girl is not one of the people that knocked over the lamps, btw. She was one of the peaceful majority of protesters that cleaned up the other guys' mess.
And that was pretty much it. The police surrounded the protesters outside the CNN building on Sunset Blvd. and contained them there for a while. Then, eventually, everyone dispersed. According to the LAPD, one protest-related arrest was made over the course of the evening. No officers were injured.