Back the Blue rally, police accountability counter-protest planned for Sunday in Springfield

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 9:27 PM CDT
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Protests are increasingly a part of our society, stretching from coast to coast over the last few weeks, even several here in the Ozarks. We've seen protests on different issues, from police conduct to the confederate flag and monuments. More protests are planned this weekend.

One of those events will start at Park Central Square and end at the Springfield Police Department on Sunday. It's a Back the Blue rally and walk, aimed at showing support for law enforcement. A counter-protest is also planned, calling for more police accountability. The organizer of the Back the Blue event says this is her way to thank those who protect and serve.

"It's basically letting them know that we do care, we haven't forgotten about them and their lives matter to us," said MaryAnn Sterner.

Sterner is helping to organize the Veterans' Back the Blue rally in downtown Springfield Sunday afternoon. Sterner said her goal is to show support for all police.

"We do have their backs, they are supported, we do understand that they get calls we couldn't even fathom," she said. "They go home at the end of the day, they try to have a normal life, and there's some things they can't forget."

The rally will start on Park Central Square at 2:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m. the group will walk to the Springfield Police Department headquarters on Chestnut Expressway.

A sit-in counter-protest calling for police accountability is planned for 12:30 p.m. It's organized by Southwest Missouri Cop Watchers and Radical Activists in Demand. Those groups did not respond to our messages in time for an interview, but the Facebook event states, "Let's show them what 'blue lives' have done across this nation. Hold them accountable for what they've done." It also reads, "Now is the time to reform the police, not glorify them."

Sterner said the frustration those organizers feel is similar to her own, knowing police officers are criticized while protecting the public.

"They're looking at law enforcement, all of law enforcement as being negative and that's not the case and I'm hoping that this walk shines a little bit of light on that, that they're all not bad," Sterner said. "They took that oath to protect and serve and that's what they do. To me, that means a lot."

Springfield police said there will be some road closures for the Back the Blue rally and walk Sunday.

Other demonstrations this weekend include a motorcade with MeToo Springfield, a Juneteenth celebration and another protest at Dixie Outfitters in Branson.

For more information about those, click


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