Today marks 25th Anniversary of Rodney King Riots

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots.

On April 29, 1992- the deadliest race riot in 150 years broke out in Los Angeles after four white police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King- who was black.

That sparked anger, leading to looting, setting fires, and violence in the streets.

Curfews were imposed from dawn to dusk. The National Guard, Army, and Marines were called in to provide order.

55 people were killed over the next five days. 

Over 10,000 people were arrested and more than 2,000 hurt. 

On Saturday, hundreds of people marked the anniversary with marches advocating peace and hope

. A "Future Fest" began at Florence and Normandie avenues -- the South Los Angeles intersection where rioting erupted -- and was followed by a community festival.

Organizer Eric Ares, 34, is a lifelong resident of the area. He remembers the electricity going out in his house at the start of the rioting, leaving his family essentially cut off from the outside world without lights or a TV.

"For the next couple of nights, there was this fear going on," he said. "We were huddled up in the living room."

When he did venture outside, Ares saw plumes of smoke coming from places where buildings had been torched.

But a small restaurant on the corner, a liquor store and other local businesses were untouched, he said.

People had a "real feeling of anger and frustration," but it was mainly directed at police, politicians and businesses they believed oppressed, neglected or exploited them, Ares said.

Graffiti on walls warned: "No justice, no peace," he said. "I remember being at the park on the third day, people screaming: `We're not gonna let them do it to us anymore," Ares said.

But while the march and festival marks the events of a quarter-century ago, the commemoration also looked to a future where community organizations are working to deal with problems still confronting South L.A., Ares said.

"There's still extreme poverty. There's still issues of law enforcement ... education and health care and access to good jobs," he said. "But the difference is, we have a plan."

About five miles north of the intersection, a peace parade was held in the Koreatown neighborhood, where tensions between black residents and Korean-American immigrant storekeepers led to markets, shops and gas stations being looted or burned.

Some merchants stood guard with guns to protect their stores.

In the wake of the riots, community groups reached out and tried to mend fences.

On Saturday, several hundred people marched in an enthusiastic show of unity that included Korean drummers in traditional costume, a South Los Angeles drumline, taekwando students and schoolchildren from Watts. K. Choi, 73, of Arcadia, was among the marchers.

He helped organize the original peace march days after the rioting and said he believed racial relations had vastly improved.

"At that time it was different," he said. "The politics and the social problems, whatever, all commingled together and then things exploded."

"But now is a very different situation," he said. "All those relationships are getting better between (the) Korean and black community, including (the) Spanish community ... we're getting along very good, and I hope we're getting a better future."