Another Day Another Protest
Another protest last night. Again peaceful.
Thousands, thousands came. There were so many people. But so many people come with so many problems. So many different opinions - even within the protest group.
The main leaders of the group were very committed to a peaceful night. But those on the fringes were quite confrontational with police. Several members of the official protest would remind them that that is not why they were here. Not what they came to do. Sometimes it worked in quieting them. Sometimes it didn't.
Throughout the night a common chant was "We don't see no riot here, why you got your riot gear". And they were right. There was no riot. Nothing close to it. But I think other people, the police included, and much of the protestors even are worried that things can turn out like they did on Saturday. The protest leaders don't want that to happen. It undermines what they are trying to accomplish. The few are destroyed what was trying to be accomplished that night.
But I also know that the police are holding back. My brother is on the riot squad. He was there Saturday night. In the streets. He had propane tanks thrown at him, hoping they would spark. The man next to him was hit in the head with a rock. Thankfully he was wearing his helmet. I was hoping to get photos of him in his gear. But he wouldn't even step foot outside. Worried that the sight of the riot squad coming out of the building would just make matters worse. They are doing everything in their power to keep the peace. To not incite. But to also be prepared.
One woman, early in the night, was yelling at an officer that she felt was staring at here while she shouted at them. But later in the night, another woman was yelling at an officer for not looking at her while she was talking to him from behind the yellow police tape. Some people wanted the police to come down to the yellow tape to talk with them. Others yelled that it was a publicity stunt when they did.
If you notice in the photos from this thread, there is a poster that reads "The revolution will be televised". But in my previous protest post there is one that reads "The revolution will not be televised".
So which is it? Are we supposed to watch it? Are we are not? Should the police look at them or not? Should they kneel? Should they stand? Who should they listen to?
As they marched down from Capital Hill the police cleared the roads ahead of the protest. The official protest leader, a woman, spoke with some members of UHP about where they planned on marching so that they could help clear the roads where they were headed. But several members of the march continued to say that the police were boxing them. Surrounding them like they had done on Saturday.
There was just so much confusion. But so many people can be so powerful. And I felt like it was. Looking at the photos of the people laying in the street for 8 1/2 minutes (the time George Floyd layed on the ground) still gives me chills. It was a powerful thing to witness. For almost three city blocks, from curb to curb, people laid in quiet solidarity.
I saw a lot of confrontation that could have easily turned the event into something dark. But I also saw so much good. One officer works with refugees coming into the state. One young boy, maybe nine, stood by for most of the night. He came as a baby with his family from the Sudan. The officer talked to him about his favorite subject in school, math, and when the boy asked who his boss was the officer pointed him out and made sure the boy knew. "Thanks for showing me". He said. The officer told him to be careful and be safe.
I can't emphasize enough that the leaders of these protests are dedicated to peace. They want change. And they deserve it. What happened to George Floyd is unacceptable and should not have happened. But when it does happen, swift action should be taken against all involved. But I think they are at their wits end. They don't know what to do besides continue to march. So I think we can expect several more of these in the near future.
Two officers knelt as the protest paused on their march to let others catch up. Some of the protestors knelt in front of them, shaking hands, thanking them for supporting them.
The protest had started at 4:30, with just a small group of maybe 100. And it swelled to thousands. By 11:30 it had reduced to nearly a 100 again before it ended. But it only ended for that night. This won't end until things change in our system and our way of life.