For the last two weeks, people internationally have protested the murder of George Floyd. On Sunday, a small protest in our downtown formed. We were there. It was peaceful.
Pastors came to speak and then politely asked us all to go home. To be honest we were not sure why -- and almost no one left because we saw it as a rare opportunity to speak up in our rural town that typically does not address the broader issues.
As it got later the group grew larger. Someone broke a courthouse window. The 3-5 plain clothes police officers were now formations in riot gear. Livestreams with 5-6K viewers were watching.
Viewers saw a fight break out. They didn't see an opportunist spray painting, protestors throw him into the police line, and the police drop him off at the end of the block only to came back looking for a fight. The livestream was filled with racist commentary that made us feel more sick than a few rightfully angry black people.
Because of the intimidating militarized police presence, the situation escalated. People scattered. More windows were broken, trash cans turned over. The streets were filled with tear gas, pepper bullets and canine units.
Conspiracies circulated of vans bringing in out of towners to destroy our city. Our friend, a teacher, could pick out half of the people (many kids) in the crowd. I have to wonder if the people who believe this rumor might just not know our black population as well as they think.
More rumors swirled that groups were coming to the white, rich neighborhoods next. All lies with no credible sources, but spread like wildfire.
A curfew was set. My brother and friend were interrogated as possible outsider antifa conspirators in broad daylight. At 8pm the town was silent -- eerily silent.
Most of our downtown is entirely boarded over in fear of an organized peaceful protest that is planned for this weekend. We have left ours unboarded and put up signs of support for the #blacklivesmatter movement and we will be there.
Some see the boards on businesses as protection, we see it as an act of fear, not love. We see it as silence.
To our black community: we are with you. - 3 hours ago