About 30 demonstrators marched 17 times around the intersection of Lewis Street and 10th Avenue Tuesday evening in Pasco — once for each time police shot at Antonio Zambrano-Montes.
They were peacefully marking the one-month anniversary of the death of the Mexican immigrant at the site where he was shot, they said. They waited for the signal to turn green before walking over the crosswalk carrying signs and chanting “No justice! No peace! No racist police!”
“We just want to say that even though it’s been one month, we still remember him,” said Antonio Valero of Pasco. “We are still very heavily invested in the fight for justice.”
The signs reading “We will never forget Antonio” made it clear they still want to see charges filed against the officers who shot Zambrano-Montes, 35, but also want to see changes made in the city.
They have been speaking at city council meetings since the shooting and say they are disappointed with the response.
On Monday, Councilman Al Yenney told Zambrano-Montes’ supporters that they should work on fighting the city’s drug and gang problems instead of focusing just on the shooting.
But Jeremy Peterson of Occupy Tri-Cities said what Yenney doesn’t understand is that the demonstrators are looking to take on problems that cause police brutality and homelessness. They have formed another group called Tri-Cities Community Solutions to work on longer-term solutions, in addition to taking action.
“Unfortunately, Yenney responded out of ignorance to the message we have been putting out consistently and clearly,” Peterson said.
The demonstrators don’t feel the city has been responding adequately to their concerns. On Monday, Mayor Matt Watkins declined to answer some of Peterson’s questions, saying they were “loaded.”
Members have spoke during the public comment portions of city council meetings, where no decisions are made and speakers are usually limited to three minutes. Valero said they would like to have a dedicated agenda item for their issues at the March 16 meeting, but city staff has told them no.
“We’re going to talk about what we can do to bring the community together,” he said. “We’ve also got some demands we can make for effective change.”