Powerful demonstration as thousands march from Mission District high school through San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Wednesday was a day of action around the Bay Area. From Hayward to Los Gatos and East Palo Alto, marches and demonstrations took place in cities big and small.

One of the largest events was in San Francisco, where thousands gathered at Mission High School and the surrounding Mission District.

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"For too long the laws have guarded these killers, these murderous police, when they kill innocent black men. They never get charged for it," said Fox Sambolo, a San Francisco resident who stood in the crowd of thousands surrounding Dolores Park for a protest and march in honor of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police last week.

"If we don't get these police to stop killing us now, they're going to kill our children and our children's children," said another San Francisco man.

It was a hot afternoon in the Mission District and the crowd was shoulder-to shoulder for blocks. Along with free water and food, many people, including a group of nurses, handed out masks and hand sanitizer.

"Everyone has a mask on, every single person I've seen. And everyone has been very peaceful and calm," said ABC7 news reporter, Kate Larsen, as she walked through the crowd.

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"I hope this stays a peaceful protest, but I don't blame any of the protesters... for that real deep frustration and anger," said Kaylah Williams of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club. "If that's what it takes for people to really finally realize this is a problem. People are dying. It's not just pain of one person. George Floyd is only one person that we're out standing in support of. It's hundreds of hundreds of young black and brown men and women."

"It feels really different," added Williams about the march and momentum behind the movement. "It feels like actually now people are taking it seriously."

"I made it to the top of the steps at Mission High School and you can see the crush of people who have shown up here to this demonstration, people standing on top of a school bus in the middle of the street. I have to say, now that I'm here and surrounded by all of this, it's incredibly moving," said Larsen.

"I think showing up is really key, understanding that it's not safe for everyone to be here. As a white person, it's a lot less likely that I'm going to be hurt or killed and so I really need to be there," said San Francisco resident, Brad Chapin, about being an ally. "There's just so many things that we need to do."

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"I've been outside for several hours now and these vans full of officers are the first police presence that I've actually seen. They're a few blocks from the actual protest and they seem to be moving out somewhere now," said Larsen.

SFPD Chief Bill Scott said the protest was largely peaceful and said he was proud of San Francisco and the Bay Area after the march. He also pointed out that several police officers took a knee in front of protesters, which he felt was a very moving moment.

After dark, the protest snaked through the streets for miles, with demonstrators congregating at City Hall and the Hall of Justice.

Chief Scott said SFPD arrested 25 protesters in the Mission District, who police believe intended to light fires. They also arrested one person near City Hall who was vandalizing a car.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the investigation into George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and protests across the U.S.

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