Hundreds gather for peaceful protests in the North Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A large crowd gathered outside Los Banos City Hall Tuesday afternoon, calling for justice and accountability.

"I just hope with us protesting here and all around America those in the highest part of our government, federal government listens up and things get changed," said protester Lawrence Price.

Police Chief Gary Brizzee and Mayor Mike Villalta both joined the march after condemning the death of George Floyd and sharing their commitment to treating all residents equally.

Brizzee acknowledged there was heightened concern leading into the event after two homicides in the city over the weekend and rumors of outside groups coming in to cause problems.

Sheriff's deputies lined the route along with police as a precaution, and some businesses chose to close for the day.

Chief Brizzee said, "Some people are scared, they're timid, they're afraid, and we're trying to accomplish both ends where we show our businesses we're there for them, we're not going to tolerate vandalism or other crimes like that, but again we're here to support those protesting peacefully."

The demonstrators made their way across Highway 152 and into Pacheco Park, making their message clear as they chanted, "hands up, don't shoot" and "black lives matter."

Hours earlier in Chowchilla, a smaller group gathered at Veterans Park for a similar march that was also coordinated with law enforcement.

Organizers thanked officers for keeping them safe and expressed pride in the community for protesting peacefully.

"A lot of us are feeling rage inside. We don't feel okay, so it takes a lot of courage and strength for everyone to come out and not be violent and show God's love because that's what this world needs. This evilness has to stop," said Morgan Biscaglio.

There were some people who yelled "all lives matter" toward the protesters during both marches, but despite those differences in opinion, everyone was thankful that both events remained peaceful.
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