ANAHEIM, Calif., July 25 (UPI) -- At least 20 people were arrested and five injured when a protest against police shootings in Anaheim, Calif., turned violent, officials said.
The melee, which began as a demonstration outside city hall during a council meeting Tuesday evening, went on into the early hours of Wednesday, The Orange County (Calif.) Register reported. Angry protesters set fires in trash cans and threw bottles and rocks at police cars, while officers responded with pepper balls and other non-lethal items.
The protests came after two young men were shot and killed by police during the weekend. Police said that Manuel Diaz, 25, who was killed Saturday, and Joel Acevedo, who was shot the next day as he allegedly fired at officers in an unrelated incident, were both known gang members, but Diaz's mother, Genevieve Huizar, who has filed a $50 million lawsuit, says her son was shot in the back.
Huizar asked Anaheim residents to refrain from violence Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"This is wrong and needs to stop on both sides," she said as she stood, sobbing, next to a memorial to her son.
Anaheim residents packed the city council meeting and then gathered outside when police said the council chambers were full to capacity, the Register said. By just after 5 p.m. PDT, there were 200 people outside, and the crowd eventually grew to 500.
Some protesters called obscenities to police or pelted them with traffic cones and sand, the newspaper said. A few bottles and rocks were thrown at police cars.
"The community is scared and angry," Joanne Sosa, one of the organizers, told the Register. "We don't want violence, we just want those people to know things need to change."
The Anaheim Police Association said Tuesday the officer who fired at Diaz saw something in his waistband Saturday that looked like a gun.
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