Protests in El Monte, California, which were meant to raise awareness about the death of George Floyd and other African Americans who have died in police custody, exploded on Twitter as a rift emerged between the city’s African American and Latino American communities.
Protests began after a video of George Floyd’s death showed then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the back of his neck for seven minutes as a handcuffed Floyd begged for help, told him and other officers that he couldn’t breathe and eventually became non-responsive. The four police officers on the scene have been fired, the FBI has started an investigation into the incident and Chauvin was arrested and charged with homicide.
Protests have since erupted in Minneapolis and all over the country, with protesters calling for police reform and the arrest of the other three former officers at the scene with Chauvin: Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.
In El Monte, California — a predominately Latino community — many on Twitter objected to speakers at the protests who said “All lives matter” as opposed to “Black lives matter.”
A video from the Instagram account of El Monte Memes showed speakers at the event saying “All lives matter.”
Speakers At The Protest Repeatedly Said ‘All lives matter’
Many became irritated with the phrase and as the poster of the video noted, the crowd became tense with some speaking out against the use of the phrase “all lives matter.”
As the situation became more heated, one woman called out those using the phrase for “missing the point” of the protest:
Many who have identified as Hispanic on Twitter have also said they were disappointed about the “all lives matter” message.
Some said they didn’t even show up because they anticipated that “anti-blackness” among the Latino community in El Monte would sidetrack the message:
Others said they are tired of the rift between the two communities and want the city’s African American residents to leave.
The El Monte Memes Instagram Poster Has Also Faced Backlash
El Monte Memes, where videos about the protest were streamed, has also faced backlash on Instagram for not stepping in to explain that this particular protest was meant to highlight African Americans’ struggles with police. The page has more than 23,000 followers.
According to the poster of the video, that wasn’t true: “She’s making false accusations about me saying I said bad things about the movement.. why would I promote this event for days and then go on and act a fool? I did it to show unity in our city for BLM,” he wrote.
However, others responded saying he and other organizers didn’t do enough to stop those saying “all lives matter”:
“You have a big following, you should have been the voice for us who couldn’t be there, but instead you and your lil homies decided to start yelling ignorant shit and instead of you stopping it, you cared more about how you looked,” drizzymami wrote.
The person who posted the video also Tweeted a video apologizing for being near the man saying, “all lives matter” and said his life has been in danger because of it.