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Anti-racism demonstrators hold protest for third day in San Luis Obispo

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Posted at 4:40 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 22:11:34-04

Demonstrators gathered in downtown San Luis Obispo for the third day in a row on Thursday.

The gathering started at 4 p.m. in front of the county courthouse on Monterey Street and protesters planned to walk to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Like Wednesday afternoon's protest, organizers said they planned to remain quiet and stay on the sidewalks.

One of the group's organizers, Cavin Stokes, shared his appreciation for the San Luis Obispo Police Department in making the group feel comfortable and respecting their freedom to protest.

He said the ultimate goal of the protest is change and not just in San Luis Obispo.

“The thing is, these protests haven’t died down. They might have slowed down, but they haven’t died down," Stokes said. "Just because you don’t see it in San Luis Obispo, doesn’t mean you don’t see it in another city, doesn’t mean you won't see it in Santa Maria, doesn’t mean you won't see it in Paso Robles, doesn’t mean you won’t see it in Santa Barbara.”

Social media posts announcing the event encouraged participants to, "Stand & sit with us, hold signs, and acknowledge the violent treatment of innocent BIPOC youth in the SLO community."

The past two days of demonstrations followed the Tuesday night arrest of protest organizer Tianna Arata.

San Luis Obispo police said Arata was responsible for leading a protest march on Tuesday that ended up blocking Highway 101. Police claimed several acts of vandalism had occurred at the hands of protesters during the march, which also snaked through the streets of downtown San Luis Obispo.

KSBY News reached out to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow for comment on the arrest of Tianna Arata.

He provided the following statement:

... It is premature for my office to make any determination on the case that is currently being investigated by the San Luis Obispo Police Department and the arrest of Ms. Tianna Arata. Once the Police Department has concluded their investigation, they will likely refer the entire case to my office for review. Only at that time will my office be able to conduct our independent evaluation of the evidence and make a factual determination of whether it is appropriate to bring criminal charges in Court.
It would be inappropriate and counterproductive for this office to provide an opinion at this time based on social media posts or media reports that may or may not be borne out by the evidence (facts) gathered in the pending investigation...

Thursday's protest was peaceful and ended at around 6:30 p.m. Stokes said there are no plans at this time for any further protests.