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Hundreds decrying police violence during march

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POSTED July 29, 2012 9:29 p.m.

ANAHEIM  (AP) — More than 300 demonstrators rallied Sunday to denounce two fatal police shootings and to issue a call for community peace.

Some 200 vocal protesters rallied in front of police headquarters while a separate group of about 100 people silently marched along a two-mile stretch of a main thoroughfare, The Orange County Register reported (http://bit.ly/MNpcWX ).

The vocal group started marching toward Disneyland, but a police line formed to stop the group a half-mile away. The blockade, which temporarily closed several traffic intersections, caused the demonstrators to change direction and head away from the resort.

"What's going on here in Orange County is symbolic of a problem with the system," Eduardo Perez, a 21-year-old student, told the Register. "This wouldn't happen to white people. This is racism, simple as that."

The other group was dressed in white and remained silent as part of their call for peace. They walked five-people across, shoulder to shoulder, some carrying messages such as "We are Anaheim" and "Peace begins with us." City Councilwoman Kris Murray and state Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat who represents Anaheim, were among the marchers, the Register reported.

At least two people were arrested, but it was unclear what charges they might face, Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. One arrest occurred outside the police station and another came while protesters were marching, according to Dunn.

It was the ninth consecutive day of protests against police.

The demonstrations occurred just hours before a scheduled evening memorial service for Manuel Diaz, a 25-year-old man who was shot dead July 21. Police said Diaz, who had a criminal record, failed to heed orders and threw something as he fled police. He was unarmed.

The following night, police shot to death Joel Acevedo, a suspected gang member they say fired at officers after a pursuit.

The shootings ignited four days of violent protests, culminating Tuesday night in hundreds of demonstrators surging through downtown. Police said some in the crowd smashed the windows of 20 businesses, set trash can fires, threw rocks and bottles at police and damaged City Hall and police headquarters. Two dozen people were arrested.

The Orange County district attorney's office is investigating, and the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI also agreed to review the shootings to determine if civil rights investigations are warranted.

A group of demonstrators rallied peacefully in front of Disneyland on Saturday.

 

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