CRENSHAW ( — In the days following violent demonstrations and dozens of arrests in the Southland due to the George Zimmerman verdict, community leaders and authorities gathered Friday in South Los Angeles to urge people to protest in a peaceful manner.

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“We thank God for the privilege of being able to come together with our officers, with our Freemasons, with our preachers and also our gang intervention specialists. We’re all together calling for peace in Los Angeles,” said Pastor Rodney J. Howard Sr.

“We don’t want any people to be harmed. We don’t want anyone to be hurt. We don’t want anything to be destroyed,” said Los Angeles police Sgt. James Townsend.

A group of Long Beach residents gathered on the steps of the city’s courthouse Friday to also calmly seek justice for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

“Rioting and violence is not going to make anything better,” said Paris Gilder. “We’re trying to bring everyone together and show unity and set an example. We can have a peaceful rally and be civilized.”

Meantime, Rev. Al Sharpton organized “Justice for Trayvon “ vigils in 100 cities on Saturday. One of the events will take place on the steps of the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

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