Back the Blue, Black Lives Matter hold simultaneous events in Potsdam

Back the Blue, Black Lives Matter hold simultaneous events in Potsdam
Two different rallies were held in Potsdam Saturday: Back the Blue and Black Lives Matter (Source: WWNY)

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - People from all over came to Potsdam today to participate in a Back the Blue car parade through the village.

Joe Gallagher was one of the organizers of the event. He says, the purpose was to thank law enforcement, rescue squads, fire departments, and hospital personnel.

As the car parade made its way through the village, Black Lives Matter protesters were demonstrating blocks away.

Jennifer Baxtron with Black Lives Matter says her group is thankful for law enforcement, but their movement is against police brutality.

“We’re here today to just remind the county of St. Lawrence that Black Lives Matter no matter how anybody thinks about it,” she said.

Baxtron says Black lives Matter Potsdam wants to build a positive relationship with law enforcement and people of color in St. Lawrence County communities.

The Back the Blue parade route ended in Ives Park where organizers set up a platform for people to come out and share their story.

Both events were peaceful, but this is an issue that can get political. After the day’s events were over, a small group of Black lives Matter protesters came face-to-face with a Back the Blue supporter at Ives Park. The Back the Blue supporter began shouting “All lives matter” into a megaphone, as the BLM protesters chanted, “Black Lives Matter.”

That is the only moment that 7News saw demonstrators from either group cross paths .

“There was no attempt whatsoever to silence them or to make any snag remarks or anything. We listened to what they had to say and that’s the way it should be,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher says the Back the Blue parade was about respect for law enforcement. Black Lives Matter says they are hoping for important change in law enforcement. Both groups say they were happy with their turnout.

Editor’s Note: Earlier writing in this story, including the phrase that Back the Blue supporters were “met by” Black Lives Matter protesters was inaccurate. Both groups peacefully held their events in Potsdam on August 15th, and those events were blocks away from one another.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.