Protesters Gather at Venice Beach
By Brody Salazar and Esmeralda De Santiago
"We are not just protesters, we are protectors," said Alfred Mazza, 71, at a protest held at Venice beach on Aug. 19.
Over 200 people attended the Saturday protest against the Alt-Right. Originally, the event was supposed to be a counter-protest in opposition to an Alt-Right rally, but after having the permits to host the public display rejected, the counter-protesters became the main focus of the day.
"The Alt-Wrong, as I call them, didn't show up," said Lydia Ponse, organizer of the Venice portion of the protest. "They can do whatever they want. We're not going to respond with violence." said Lydia Ponse, the organizer of the Venice portion of the protest, "We're here for unity and peace."
The permit rejection was due to a rise in safety concerns following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia where Heather Heyer died and 19 others were injured when a car driven by a white supremacist struck the crowd.
After the initial protest at Venice beach, protestors marched to the Google building for several more speakers to address the crowd. The elocutionists spoke of how important the role of activism is in the community.
"I feel like this event is very necessary in this time. White supremacists and Klansmen feel like they can come out in masks and march and promote their idea of hatred," said Andrew Nance, 23, from Los Angeles. "It's really even more important for us to come out and promote unity."
Venice councilman, Mike Bonin was present during the event.
"Good afternoon to people who are standing up to the ugliest, most vicious, hate that we have seen in this country in years," Bonin said. "Standing up to racism, one of our greatest tools are these signs that we are holding up today."
Following the protest at the Google building, the group trekked to HBO headquarters chanting things such as "No KKK, no racist USA," and "Shame, shame, HBO, 'Confederate' has got to go!"
"Confederate" is a show being made by HBO that has drawn critizism for its portrayal of a world in which the Confederacy won the civil war.
Several different groups made an appearance at the rally including: the Anti-Fascist Movement, American Indian Movement, International Communist Workers' Party and Venice Resistance.
"What we've seen is a rise in white supremacy, in white nationalism, in the alt-right as they call themselves, having more comfuture [being comfortable with] coming out to public terrain and public spaces," said 25-year-old Tom Bibiyan, one out of the five Anti-Fascists at the protest.
Although there where many faces some believed there should be more.
"It's alarming that there is not a lot of people," said Charlie Moore, 29, of Santa Barbara. "It's disappointing to see how serious this event is and there is not more people."