Hundreds join peaceful Black Lives Matter march in Martinez

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- A crowd of peaceful demonstrators was on the move Sunday through downtown Martinez.


The Black Lives Matter march was sparked by an incident last weekend when two Martinez residents were caught painting over a city-approved mural on Court street. Both are now facing hate crime charges. Days later, someone spray-painted "White lives matter" on a road.

WATCH: ABC7's Dan Noyes shares look from ground at Martinez Black Lives Matter protest
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ABC7 News' Dan Noyes was on the ground in Martinez with a look at Black Lives Matter protesters and counter-protesters on Sunday night.



Valerie Jones was disturbed by recent incidents.

"I think people still don't understand what Black Lives Matter means, we're not saying white lives don't matter we're not saying Hispanic lives don't matter, we're saying we want to be treated equal," said Jones.

RELATED: 2 Martinez residents charged with hate crime after allegedly defacing Black Lives Matter mural

Sevgi Fernandez, the founder of Together We Stand, organized today's event. She said people tried to be disruptive, but that did not stop them from continuing on peacefully.

"We had some people at the beginning that really did try to get us off our message and have some altercations starting so we wouldn't end up here doing what we're doing but it was quickly diffused and here were are," Fernandez said.



She also added she had a meeting with the police chief before the demonstration.

"The chief of police met with me this morning and said that 'either way today was a lose-lose for Martinez' and I'd say this is a win," Fernandez said.

WATCH: Video shows confrontation between artists, pair painting over BLM mural
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A Black Lives Matter mural was defaced in Martinez Saturday and now police are investigating.This video shows a confrontation between the artists and the pair painting over the mural



"We've had a peaceful march and protest we've got our message across and I think that we accomplished what we came here to do," she added.

Jason Ellis of Concord brought his horse Zeevon to promote a sense of peace.

"Horses are so healing, and right now in addition to protesting and justice, this world and especially this country does need a lot of healing," Ellis said. Zeevon had a sign that said "I can't breathe' and 'horsepower to the people.'

Jalila Jones drove from Vallejo to join in.

"I saw the defacing of the mural and I figured it was the best way to come out and speak my voice and use my truth so I came out here," Jones said.

Most downtown businesses boarded up doors and windows.

RELATED: Driver arrested after allegedly pulling gun on supporter of Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez

The mayor and police chief appealed for calm. The event was mostly calm and peaceful.

Chief of Police Manjit Sappal issued this statement regarding the demonstration.

WATCH: SKY7 was over the march in Martinez
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