Upwards of 50 demonstrators gathered in downtown Palm Springs Monday, many of them chanting “black lives matter,” in response to death of George Floyd, whose police custody death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day has sparked civil unrest nationwide.
The demonstration, which as of noon remained peaceful, was organized by the Coachella Valley arm of the advocacy group Courageous Resistance.
“If you see injustice, you need to do something about it,” an unnamed organizer told KESQ as he held a sign reading “Silence = Complicacy.”
“If you are silent in the face of injustice, you become part of that injustice yourself,” he said.
Palm Springs police were on hand keeping an eye on the demonstrators, with some officers handing out free water bottles to participants as the temperature hit the mid-90s, while others watched the scene from a nearby rooftop.
According to Palm Springs police Sgt. Mike Casavan, no barricades were set up as the protest was expected to stay peaceful, although the department warned on social media that officers would be ready to respond in the event of any violence.
Two other demonstrations were also scheduled in the Coachella Valley: a vigil in Indio set to begin at 6 p.m. at Miles Avenue Park, and a protest that was originally set to begin at 5 p.m. in Palm Desert’s upscale El Paseo shopping district. That gathering was subsequently relocated by organizers to Palm Desert City Hall, although a countywide curfew put in place Monday evening could disrupt those plans.
Riverside County officials announced about 12:30 p.m. that a countywide curfew would be in effect from 6 Monday evening through 6 Tuesday morning for everyone but essential workers.
“The curfew is in response to several areas of rioting and looting in Southern California over the weekend, as well as planned protests set to occur today in Riverside County,” a county statement reads.
Organizers of the Palm Desert protest asked participants to assemble at Palm Desert Civic Center Park.
“We are in no way, shape, or form promoting violence,” an unverified Instagram post from an account called coachellavalleyactivists reads.
In a subsequent post, organizers addressed unverified reports that demonstrators from out of the area were set to be bused in “with the intention of looting and rioting.”
“We have no contact with them, we are not even aware of who they are,” according to the post.
Even prior to the location change of the demonstration, many local business owners along El Paseo weren’t taking any chances in light of destruction waged in other shopping districts in Southern California and installed protective plywood barriers over their shop windows.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: