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Nearly 1,500 people participated in San Luis Obispo protest on Monday

slo protesters block US 101
The protesters can be seen marching down the US 101 near Marsh Street. Law enforcement officers have completely blocked off the lanes.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The City of San Luis Obispo released a statement on Monday's protest which began around 2 p.m. at the intersection of Santa Rosa and Walnut streets.

The protest brought roughly 1,500 protester together to express their support through chants and signs for the black community and the end of racial injustice.

At one point, officers and other law enforcement knelt with the protesters out of honor and to show their support for the cause as well.

The city said the protest remained mostly peaceful.

At one point, around 4 p.m., protesters decided to march onto the 101 freeway. The city said police were gravely concerned for the protesters' safety amid high-speed traffic. Officers blocked off both directions of the freeway, redirected traffic, and allowed the protesters safe passage off of the freeway.

The rally exited near Marsh Street and resumed their rally at Santa Rosa and Walnut.

The city said that as night drew near, the protesters began marching toward the freeway again. Officers once again became concerned for the protesters' and drivers' safety so they established a line to block the protesters from entering the freeway and ordered them to disperse.

The city said that law enforcement resources were stretched thin as there were various reports of planned property damage as is being experienced in other communities throughout California.

Three businesses were vandalized in San Luis Obispo Monday evening, however, SLO police said there is no evidence currently tying the vandalisms to the protest.

After about six hours of protesting, police dispersed the crowds saying that the assembly became unlawful due to public safety risks. Multiple members of the rally were arrested at this time.

Mayor Heidi Harmon said regarding the protest, “I am calling on all members of our community for peace and calm. We are a caring and compassionate community.  I feel the agony and despair from the inhumane and cruel death of  George Floyd. I deeply respect and support the protesters fight for equality and justice and the right for all people to come together peacefully to advocate for social change.” 

She added “ Several storefronts in San Luis Obispo have been damaged tonight and there is so much rebuilding that our community needs to do.  We will get through this challenge as we have others – through working together and caring for each other and our community. Please, be safe and care for SLO”.

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County

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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.


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