As last week came to a close, Los Angeles was about to open up.
After months of COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, barbershops, and retail shops, Mayor Eric Garcetti made a sudden announcement Friday that some eateries and businesses could reopen their doors to customers.
But 72 hours later, citywide curfews replaced the gentle lift of the quarantine.
Los Angeles was locked down under control of National Guard troops and police officers after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency order to quell widespread destruction as peaceful protests turned into looting. Hundreds of demonstrators decrying police violence — joining a national protest against the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer — were arrested Friday downtown in the shadow of City Hall. Skirmishes between officers and protesters in the Fairfax District Saturday left behind skeletons of burned police cars and broken storefront windows. Community members helped clean up the wreckage on Sunday as National Guard vehicles prowled the streets.
Over those three days, the sounds of police sirens, distant helicopters, bursting fireworks, and blasts of rubber bullets backdropped afternoons of cell phones buzzing with emergency alerts. For some, it was an echo of LA’s 1992 uprising; for others, an expression of anger.
Photojournalists and KCRW’s reporters witnessed the tension of those 72 hours of outrage firsthand, offering a snapshot of clashes on the streets of LA.
On May 29, demonstrators in downtown Los Angeles took over the 110 freeway and damaged several businesses in the area. Photo by Ted Soqui/SIPA USA.
Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd in downtown Los Angeles lift their hands to be “peacefully arrested.” Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
Demonstrators lift their hands while awaiting to be arrested in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
LAPD officers arrest demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
Demonstrators watch as officers arrest protesters nearby Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
LAPD officers boxed-in demonstrators who laid on the street in protest. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
After many were arrested near City Hall, officers moved into other parts of downtown to disperse crowds and make more arrests. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
A police car was set ablaze during the aftermath of LAPD efforts to arrest protesters in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
LAPD officers swept through downtown Los Angeles to arrest demonstrators who remained in the area despite a decree of unlawful gathering. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
LAPD officers moved through the streets of downtown Los Angeles dispersing crowds and arresting demonstrators. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for KCRW.
Peaceful protests May 30 turned into a spree of vandalism and looting in Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators. Photo by Ted Soqui/SIPA.
A woman gets out of the way as demonstrators smash a police car in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Photo by Angel Carreras/KCRW.
A demonstrator held up a sign while fires burned and protestors congregated in the Fairfax District. Photo by Angel Carreras/KCRW.
Police and protesters clash in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. Photo by Angel Carreras/KCRW.
Protesters gathered in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles May 30 to rally against the death of George Floyd. Photo by Angel Carreras/KCRW.
Protestors take a knee during a rally May 31 in Santa Monica, at the intersection of Ocean and Montana Avenues. Photo by Frances Anderton/KCRW.
A woman cleans off a vandalized storefront Sunday, a day after the Fairfax area was looted. Photo by Ted Soqui/KCRW.
Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the National Guard to patrol the streets of Los Angeles. Military-style trucks traversed the city. Photo by Ted Soqui/KCRW.
Community members clean off graffiti from storefronts. Photo by Ted Soqui/KCRW.
National Guard vehicles were parked nearby the Farmer’s Market near the Grove shopping center. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.
Shop owners in Beverly Hills repair broken windows and storefronts. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.
Beverly Hills boutiques boarded up windows, which were still vandalized. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.
National Guard troops were positioned throughout the city. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.
Citizens stood watch over local businesses. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.