Kori Gillis sings at county building protest

San Diego law enforcement agencies monitored peaceful protests against racism and police brutality at multiple locations Saturday, while Supervisor Nathan Fletcher called for the removal of all National Guard troops from the county.

At 10:45 a.m., the San Diego Police Department tweeted, “Protests are occurring and we are at each one ensuring a safe environment.”

The police department said about 3,000 people were at the County Administration Center, about 100 people were at a protest on Texas Street and Adams Avenue, and a Del Mar Heights event had a crowd of about 300.

National Guardsmen “took a knee and joined us,” said one of the protesters, Enrique Morones, who took this photo.

“Our roadways will be busy all day so everyone, please be extra careful,” the police department said.

Meanwhile, Fletcher called for the removal of the National Guard from San Diego.

Fletcher tweeted, “We need to focus on efforts around authentic dialogue, uplifting the voices of the peaceful protestors and driving substantive change to address the problem of systemic racism. These protests are peaceful and the presence of the National Guard only escalates the situation.

“While there are times, particularly those around responding to natural disasters or humanitarian need, when the National Guard might be appropriate, this is not one of them,” he continued.

Outside the County Administration Building, protesters gathered Saturday for a demonstration against racism and police brutality as National Guard troops and San Diego police stood near the building.

At 10 a.m., protesters observed eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence in memory of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in Minneapolis on Memorial Day after a white officer pressed his knee to his neck for more than eight minutes.

The four officers who handled the arrest were all fired and later charged with crimes. Derek Chauvin, the officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Critics have spotlighted Floyd’s death as an illustration of wider law enforcement abuses.

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At about 10:17 a.m., the police said the large group of 3,000 peaceful protesters began to march onto Ash Street.

“They will be going north on Sixth Avenue towards Hillcrest,” police said. “We will be temporarily closing numerous streets to allow the march to continue.”

A later protest at the same location was organized by Gabriella McField, a 15-year-old black activist from the Classical Academy High School in Escondido

Groups of protesters waved signs on all four corners of the intersection of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real. Photo by Chris Jennewein

A vehicle caravan that marshaled at the Torrey Pines Gliderport made its way all over San Diego. “We are thankful is has been handled SO WELL by the organizers and participants. Especially since it stretched for almost 5 miles!!” police tweeted.

At noon at Civic Center Park in Vista, a protest called “100 Mothers March for Criminal Justice Reform” included mothers from across Southern California. Organizations participating include Mothers Against Police Brutality; Mothers Against Racism in America; and Mothers Against Criminal Injustices.

At 9 a.m. Saturday at Tourmaline Beach, hundreds of surfers gathered on the shore and in the water to “Paddle for Peace.” The event’s flyer said, “It is important that we lead with kindness and come together as a community full of love and support.”

In Chula Vista, police officials said they are aware of a planned peace rally in the Memorial Park area. The organizers plan to remain in the park while they play music and worship.

Protesters in Carlsbad on Saturday. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Also Saturday, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore tweeted, “All of Friday’s demonstrations in sheriff’s department jurisdictions were peaceful. We will always support the public’s right to free speech and assembly. We encourage the peaceful gathering of people. We respect your right to be heard. Thank you.”

On Friday, groups of demonstrators hit San Diego streets for an eighth straight day, marching, chanting and holding protest signs aloft to honor the memory of Floyd and to demand racial equity and an end to excessive force in the nation’s policing.

Rallies began in Carlsbad and Escondido in the mid-afternoon, with gatherings later in the day in Oceanside, San Diego and other communities.

Updated at 8:13 p.m. June 6, 2020

— City News Service