BEL AIR—A small protest has transpired outside the Glen Centre shopping mall in the community of Bel-Air for three weeks, with loud music blaring from the back of an SUV since Sunday, June 7.
The gathering was planned by Mele Black, a Bel Air resident who is White. Black initially had the protest planned five days after the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis Police Officer on May 25. In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Black commented in a Facebook post that she will be protesting at the Glen Centre that weekend.
News was spread on Nextdoor.com by another community member in Bel Air about the protest Black was planning later that evening, discussing the potential threats that the protest could bring to families and businesses from outside agitators. Others accused Black of enticing a riot. In light of the event, the Glen Centre closed up their businesses for the day.
Dismayed by the community’s response and the closure of the storefronts, Black decided to call off the demonstration while other protests erupted in the nearby Los Angeles area such as Santa Monica and Beverly Hills causing a significant amount of damage to the nearby areas.
Black would return however a week later on June 7 without a prior announcement. An armed security guard remained in the area while Black and her friend Courtney, who is Black and has lived in Bel Air since 2018, protested outside the shopping mall while it remained open.
Demonstrators have frequented the area in the last couple weeks playing music with recordings of Martin Luther King Jr. being heard on occasion. Protestors also gathered voicing their opinions over megaphones that could be heard by local businesses, which has ensued on some business owners and customers to file complaints against the occupants. There have been no crimes reported during the ongoing demonstration at the shopping center.
Going on its third week, the protest outside the Beverly Glen Centre has no sign of slowing down as there are other events planned concurrently with Black’s protest according to her Facebook page.