I have been to a handful of protests south of the border since November. This one was the annual #maydaymarch in Downtown LA. Usually it's primarily for the labour movement. Due to the situation this year, it was also attended by members of the LGBTQ+ community, Black Lives Matter and pro-immigration groups. On the right in this photo, coincidentally also politically, waving flags and chanting are about 50 Trump supporters. One guy, oblivious to the concept of irony, was dressed like a Roman gladiator with an 'All Lives Matter' sticker on his helmet. Behind me, out of view, are thousands of marchers making their way to a park where the LA mayor, Eric Garcetti, spoke alongside many leaders from the various communities. Large signs hung from either side of the stage set up on the steps of City Hall that read 'Resist'. Things got a little heated between some marchers and the Trumpeters just before this photo was taken. However, nothing more than a few water bottles and some charged language were hurled back and forth.
My awkward smile reflects my feelings about being at these protests. Aware that I am a visitor, an outsider to either side, but confident in my convictions to support the people with whom I believe are justified to be there. Everybody has a right to protest. It just seems some people are actually protesting for their rights while others are protesting simply because it is their right. It's all alright by me.
What's not alright is what happened yesterday in Charlottesville, Virginia. A woman woke up yesterday morning wanting to exercise her rights and stand up for what she believed in. She did not get to come home last night. Emotions at protests get elevated but from what I have seen this was a cold, calculated act of terrorism. It does nothing more than make me want to go to another protest. To prove that violence never wins and to honour the life that was lost today.