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It was one of the longest nights of his life. Dilson Díaz and his wife, Nathalia Gaviria, watched in horror on television how protests over the death of George Floyd in Los Angeles led to a wave of vandalism and destruction that almost took away his clothing store in 7563. Melrose Avenue. A few hours earlier, seeing what was coming their way, they put the most valuable objects in their car and rushed out of one of the neighborhoods that soon became a war zone. The subsequent balance: hundreds of arrested, razed shops and military in the streets imposing the curfew since eight at night .

"We are saved by a miracle," says Díaz, a Colombian rock musician and businessman. "I hardly slept looking at security cameras and watching friends' stores being robbed and burned." The one opposite, an expensive shoe store, was emptied before being set on fire, as was a beauty salon a few meters away. Not even those who took the precaution of writing on the facade that were owned by blacks were spared, to avoid fury in one of the most sought-after commercial avenues in the city, in the Fairfax district.

Díaz believes that the looting and destruction in various parts of California's main city, from the Downtown area to Bervely Hills and West Hollywood, were more than the product of anger at Floyd's wrongful death in Minneapolis at the hands of a policeman. "This was organized crime," he says. He understands it as "the chronicle of an announced death, in some way", because hours before people who are not a regular buyer began to pass through the area and asked about the most expensive items, about the price. we realized it was a strategy for later. " They were right.

The sneakers of Nike and Adidas became one of the targets of criminals, who took advantage of peaceful protests to infiltrate and take precious booty. The thieves came and went, stuffing merchandise into their cars and then coming back for more. One of the subjects entered a Target in the area and took a complete clothing cart.

In the Grove shopping center, Apple and Nordstrom stores were also damaged. Some of the protesters tried to get to Beverly Hills and its famous Rodeo Drive, the heart of the city's most luxurious stores. The police prevented them from entering.

The scenes evoked what happened in 1992 after the trial of Rodney King , the African American brutally beaten by three Los Angeles police officers. The acquittal of his attackers led to days of street riots and clashes with the police.

The mid-afternoon situation prompted the mayor, Eric Garcetti, to request the presence of the National Guard to stem the wave of violence. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency throughout Los Angeles County, a situation they expected to continue this Sunday.

Marquecee Harris-Dawson, a councilor in an area with a strong African American presence, spoke of the presence of infiltrators among peaceful protesters. "Anarchists are taking advantage of our pain with looting and violence," he said in a statement. "This is not Black Lives Matter (the movement for African American rights) or members of our community who have suffered from systematic racism and oppression. This is local terrorists."

In accordance with the criteria of The Trust Project

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