Activists bused in from LA to attend San Luis Obispo rally

August 26, 2020


Protesters rode buses from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo on Tuesday in an attempt to dissuade prosecutors from filing charges against SLO Black Lives Matter leader Tianna Arata.

The gathering held outside the San Luis Obispo Courthouse drew a few hundred people, including Arata, who made her first appearance at a public demonstration since her July 21 arrest. Arata also delivered a speech and led chants at the rally.

Following Arata’s speech, Melina Abdullah, a Cal State Los Angeles professor and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, announced activists from LA were bused into SLO.

“I heard that some of the folks in SLO were saying that there were buses of people coming up to stand with Tianna, and they right,” Abdullah said. “We got up at three o’clock in the morning, got on the bus and we’re here to stand with our sister Tianna Arata.”

While Abdullah said critics were correct that demonstrators were getting on buses and coming to SLO, they were wrong in claiming the activists are paid.

“What they got wrong when they said that we’re getting on buses to come into SLO is when they started saying that we are paid organizers. We are not paid organizers,” Abdullah said.

Kendrick Sampson, an actor who appeared in The Vampire Diaries and other television shows, also spoke at the rally.

The event also drew several dozen counter-protesters, who stood in and around the intersection of Monterey and Osos streets, some holding American flags and at times chanting “liar” in reference to Arata.

After the completion of the rally, San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson and Police Chief Deanna Cantrell held a press conference addressing criticism of the city and the police department.

The police department stands by the charges — five felony counts and three misdemeanors — it recommended the district attorney’s office file against Arata, Cantrell said.

“Tianna Arata was arrested for her own actions, for her own behavior, her own decisions,” Cantrell said. “She broke several laws. She committed several crimes. She recorded herself committing those crimes.”

Arata declined to give comment to CalCoastNews during the rally.

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Im proud to admit i have not attended a “protest” in over 4 years my count!

I dont feel like ive neglected my civic duties. In fact i was tempted to go while living in slo seemed like thing to do, but held back from crowd mentality. Still humble american without all this uneeded fuss

Just saying tho




You know, tourism is really important to the Mayor.She’s now getting busloads up here. I bet they also stopped in Solvang for pastries and went to Bubble Gum Alley and the magic waterfall at the Madonna Inn. What a lovely day they had.


Just wondering…at any rally they bus people in…what they cant protest in their town because LEOs know who they are and dont want to be hassled? So come here and and do it to get away with it breaking the law? That just makes you look chicken and your integrity is lacking. Be real be who you are, dont hide. Keep your bs in your town. I am so over this.


Simple as I can make it, put her in Jail!


I am interested to know if these “bused in” supporters also agree to this groups EXTORTION tactics used against the local businesses?


Do the speakers at the rally think if they spin the truth enough times, everyone will believe them. They were asking why police only arrested a black woman following the riot, and then saying it was because she is black. Not true, a white man and a black woman were arrested. The man assaulted an officer and Tianna clearly directed protesters to chase down cars and detain people.

The protester’s goal to have the DA not file charges against Tianna because of her skin color is ridiculous. Justice requires the DA to look at the evidence and make his decision based on the facts, not the protesters threat that if Tianna is charged there will be no peace, or based on her skin color.

And their goal to fill the jury with protesters who have already made their minds up, not based on evidence, but based on Tianna’s skin color, is also not justice. I hope they are able to find jurors who have not made their minds up before trial, but with the constant misinformation campaign, it will be tough.

Shame on the attorneys who are promoting this circus and who are supporting a client who threatens no peace for our community if she is charged.


Where was Mayor Harmon?


I heard there was a very large law enforcement presence from neighboring agencies in town. I’m glad they were there in case anything did happen.

I’m glad both the protesters and counter protesters behaved themselves and everyone on both sides got to exercise their first amendment rights peacefully.

I have no problem with people coming here from out of town to support a cause they believe in, whether I agree with them or not, as long as they are peaceful.

However I do think those people are all idiots for spending 7+ hours on a crowded bus while there is wide spread of an extremely contagious, deadly, and debilitating respiratory virus.


Not overly large, no. No real signs of mutual aid either.

There weren’t that many protestors there.


They held a rally but there were not enough locals to show support so they had to import protesters for the rally! So the local community must not be in support of Tianna?