Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sunday Night BLM March

A reader of the blog sent me their eyewitness description of Sunday night's BLM march. With their permission, the email is copied below:

Sunday evening, June 10, we were driving downtown when we saw a small group gathering at the Town Square Pavillion. Everyone seemed fixed on their cell phones. There were no marked police cars. At around 9-9:30 PM a small group of masked white protesters sauntered up with large signs: “Disobey” and “When they say peace they mean obedience”. 30+ protesters melted into a group from the people lounging around the Pavillion. 

The masked protesters led off, with the largely white group following behind, chanting “Black Lives Matter”! while holding placards aloft.

The original leadership appeared to be drawn from the Anarchists and Occupy groups that congregate at the Flyover next to WDBX, some residents of the NE and a smattering of students. It was about 90% white at the beginning. Women, often in shorts in the warm summer evening, appeared to outnumber men.  The average age was in the 20s.  A number of the protesters walked their dogs. Most of the whites wore black.

The group turned east on Jackson and then North on Washington, moving at a good pace while chanting, “No Justice, No Peace”, “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”. Several of the protesters set off fireworks, the flares arcing over the houses in the NE landing with a loud boom.They passed startled gatherings of African Americans who were bar-b-cueing in their yards.  After - church groups relaxing in the pleasant summer night stood up as they passed by. Families stood in doorways and peered from windows. One particularly ardent demonstrator, a middle aged black man, had gotten far out front of the main group, shouting “Black Lives Matter” at the top of his lungs. He went due East on Chestnut at Robert Stalls Ave, his voice cutting through the night. The Masked marchers, however, decided to head North at Stalls. A few minutes later the errant demonstrator came wordlessly back up Chestnut hurrying to catch up.

Ultimately the group, now joined by excited black youngsters on bicycles, had grown to perhaps 60 marchers - a majority of whom were African American. They made their way back to Marion St. and turned south with no police presence in sight. They crossed Main against the light, continued to Walnut where they turned West, spread out across the thoroughfare blocking oncoming traffic. Our thought was that the possibility of road rage was very high and a police presence would ensure that no one plowed into the marchers. As it turned out,  drivers were forgiving. 

The march went on.

There appeared to have been some reordering of the march as young black men appeared at the leading edge of the march as they turned South onto Illinois, “Taking the Strip". The whites were relegated to the middle of the crowd. Marchers invited spectators to join as they passed  the Dairy Queen with its crowds  perched on the curbs slurping Blizzards and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Mash. This was a particularly good evening for the DQ crowd as Illinois Ave. lit up with AgitProp. No one joined.

We last saw them moving South on Illinois.

No comments:

Post a Comment