Protesters Gather In La Mesa To Demand Justice For Women Of Color
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.
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.
The City of La Mesa issued an executive order Friday banning access to the La Mesa Police Department and surrounding areas and prohibiting items considered “implements of riot.” The order comes before a protest planned for 3:30 p.m. Saturday in La Mesa and lasts from noon, Saturday to 5:30 a.m., Sunday.
Group Stronger Together San Diego has sponsored protest, advising attendees in an Instagram post Saturday to “stay alert of your surroundings and be aware of La Mesa PD’s current ban, but DO NOT BE DETERRED by their attempt to TRAMPLE on our rights! FIST UP FIGHT BACK!”
The order, issued by Greg Humora, director of emergency and disaster of the City of La Mesa, indicates the restricted area: “the sidewalk nearest to the street on east side of University Avenue where it intersects with north side of Alison Avenue; to the south side of University Avenue where it intersects with Baltimore Drive; to the fence on the west side of the MTS railroad tracks; to the edge of sidewalk nearest to the street on the north side of Allison Avenue where it intersects with Spring Street.”
La Mesa Police Department, City Hall, Fire Department Station 11, Branch Library and Building Department are located in this area. It was also the site of a May 30 protest and ensuing riot.
Prohibited items are banned within the restricted area. These include firearms, knives, pepper spray,bricks, baseball bats, glass bottles, and any other item “generally considered an ‘implement of riot’ that can be used as a weapon,” reads the order.
People who violate La Mesa’s Temporary Area Restriction order Saturday or Sunday will be prosecuted, reads the order.
The La Mesa Police Department (LMPD) issued a community advisory Saturday alerting drivers that freeway off and on ramps surrounding La Mesa would be closed starting 2:30 p.m. These include: southbound state Route 125 to westbound Interstate 8 interchange, El Cajon Boulevard off ramp from I-8 westbound, Jackson Boulevard on ramp to westbound I-8 and the Spring Street off ramp from eastbound I-8.
The police department also 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.