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Counter-protesters call for police accountability at Veterans Back the Blue rally

(KY3)
Published: Jun. 28, 2020 at 9:28 PM CDT
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The Veterans Back the Blue rally didn't come without a crowd of counter-protesters.

"We're just out here. Like they're doing for their cause, we're doing with our cause as peacefully as possible," said protester Monteirdre Huggins.

Multiple groups gathered to counter-protest the Veterans Back the Blue rally Sunday. For many, their reason for being there was the same.

"To be a police is a choice, it is one portion of their life. But being a person of color, that is your every day life, that is your existence, so our lives have to matter," said protester Aaliyah Williams.

Throughout the afternoon, members of the Back the Blue event and counter-protesters were yelling back and forth at each other. KY3 reporters did not witness any violence, but police did position themselves between both groups at one point.

Amid the noise, members of Black Lives Matter of Southwest Missouri chose to take a silent approach.

"We wanted to show up. We wanted to have a presence and we'll be silently protesting," said Imari Stout, the the founder of Black Lives Matter Southwest Missouri. "Our words will speak with our actions, like I said LGBTQ and Black lives have been silenced for centuries upon centuries. We've found other ways to get our message across, and that's exactly what we're doing today. "

Their message comes on the 51st anniversary of the historic Stonewall riots.

"We will be here representing all of the Black women, all of the Black transgender men, all of the black women, all of the black transgender women, all of the black queer, bi, gay, lesbian people who have been murdered in police custody, who have been murdered because of hate crimes and have been overlooked for centuries upon centuries by our own police department," said Stout.

Local activist, Jamille Jones with United Community Change, made an impromptu speak at the Veterans Back the Blue event. Her message: unity.

"I come here not knowing how you guys will respond to me. I come here always afraid of what will happen to me because I love you, you are my community," Jones said to the crowd of people. "We cannot do this separated, we cannot do this alone, and we will not achieve anything being against one another. We have to come together."

Both attendees of the rally and counter-protests cheered on her message Sunday.

Counter-protesters began leaving the square when supporters of the Black the Blue rally marched to the Springfield Police headquarters.

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