New York saw a different kind of demonstration on Friday night (December 19), with dozens taking to the streets in support of the police.
The recent deaths of two unarmed, black Americans following police intervention have provoked ‘anti police brutality’ rallies throughout the US. But Friday’s counter-rally was one of the first of its kind.
Protesters chanted “NYPD” and “Don’t resist arrest”, while holding up placards saying ‘Blue Lives Matter’.
The rally was promoted on social media using a hashtag of the same name.
Walter Hillegass attended the pro-police demonstration.
“It’s not right”, he said. “These people want a world with no police officers, with no law. It’s going to turn into the wild west. That just can’t happen. I have a two-year old daughter at home and I don’t want her to be looking over her shoulder if we don’t have any police officers, which is exactly what they want.”
Scores of protesters countered the rally, labelling the twist on the original #BlackLivesMatter slogan “insulting and offensive”.
Rodrigo Starz attended the counter demonstration. He argued the phrase #BlueLivesMatter was racist.
“The reality is, that when you have a hashtag like #BlackLivesMatter, when you counter that, what you’re really saying is that you’re a white supremacist. It is that simple”, he asserted.
“The police department is murdering us and they have the audacity to even try to use slogans like this. You know what I mean? I think it shows their ignorance, their racism.”
Diana Leary contested that people should take responsibility for their actions.
“We’re not against all of NYPD”, said the demonstrator. “But the bad cops, what they do – unjustified killing of unarmed black youth and men – they need to be held accountable. And at this point, they are not being held accountable for their actions.”
Separated by metal barricades, the protesters confronted each other face-to-face on several occasions.