Protesters gather at the Pearl

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – While protesters marched through the streets of downtown San Antonio for peaceful rallies at the Public Safety Headquarters, the Bexar County Courthouse and Travis Park, a smaller group of about 150 took their “Justice for George” message  north to the Pearl District  off Broadway at East Grayson.

The Pearl/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

A flyer stated the rally would begin at 4, and the Pearl established a “safe area” in a parking lot on Pearl Parkway at Avenue A with porta pottys, a hand-washing station, and bottled water. Elizabeth Fauerso told KTSA News they also had anti-microbial masks available, but when the organizer, 23-year-old Alyssa Gonzalez arrived, she assembled the protesters in a parking lot away from the area that had been cordoned off for them.

She gave the crowd instructions and outlined the route from Grayson to Broadway to Jones Avenue and back to the Pearl. When asked why she chose to lead her own protest at the Pearl, a historic district that includes the posh Hotel Emma, restaurants, entertainment and luxury condos, she said she wanted those people to hear her voice.

”The people who live here, they can ignore what’s happening downtown,” Gonzalez said. “They can turn off the TV, so we’re bringing our message here.”A few members of the Autonomous Brown Berets de San Anto marched with the group. One of the members who identified himself as Oso Tejazlan warned protestors that White Supremacists had threatened to interfere with their peaceful protest, but there was no disturbance Friday.

When the crowd returned to the Pearl, participants took a knee and raised a fist for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of  time that  Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

Workers board up windows at a business on Broadway at Pearl Parkway ahead of protest June 5, 2020/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

A larger crowd outside the Public Safety Headquarters listened to several speakers before ending the rally by dancing to Michael Jackson’s man in the mirror.

One of the organizers of that protest, 24-year-old Lexi Qaiyyim, said she hasn’t experienced the discrimination or oppression that others have, but she feels their pain.

Lexi Qaiyyim leads George Floyd rally at Public Safety Headquarters/KTSA-Elizabeth Ruiz

When asked how much longer theyll continue the demonstrations, she replied,”As long as we need to. Martin Luther King Jr. marched for over a year.”

The protests across the country were sparked by the death of George Floyd. Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter. Three other officers this week were charged with aiding and abetting, but Qaiyyim says they’re not ready to stop the protests.

“George Floyd was the catalyst. We have not had a video where a cop so brazenly takes a man’s life,” she said.













More about: