Black Lives Matter protests were organized in both Martinsville, and Bedford, Sunday.
A group of about 80 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered on the courthouse square in Martinsville after 11 a.m. and were countered by at least 30 members of veterans groups, and community members.
The protesters chanted, and marched around the courthouse square, but were met by a group at the war memorial across from the courthouse, who said they were concerned the protesters would vandalize the monument. Some community members were open carrying AR-15 rifles.
A bearded man sitting in the shade said he wanted to know why “all lives” don’t matter, then asked for the Bloomingtonian, to tell the truth about the protest happening on the square.
A protester on the other side of the street told the Bloomington that they tried to talk to the community members near the memorial, and thought at first they had a good conversation, especially after later they played, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” by Blue Oyster Cult through the speakers of their motorcycles. However, then the opposition to the BLM protesters turned their backs on the group and flipped them off, according to the protester who spoke with the Bloomingtonian.
A group of men also guarded the armed forces monument on the courthouse square, and a man stood in front of a bank with an AR-15.
Jeff Buskirk, who was armed, said he was concerned when he heard about the protest that some would vandalize businesses and buildings on the square, which he said had cost millions to renovate. Buskirk compared bad cops to bad employees of at a unionized factory he said can’t be gotten rid of because the union will protect them. Buskirk said he is a retired police officer of 32 years.
Buskirk said he remembers one time the KKK showed up in Martinsville when he was just a little boy, but said they weren’t accepted.
The protesters stopped early due to heat, but began to make plans to have a protest in Mooresville, saying, “Mooresville needs some love.”
Over 100 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in Bedford to protest against the killing of George Floyd, and against police brutality.
A group of III-percenter bikers stood in two places 40-50 feet from the protesters watching them, and one, when photographed by the Bloomingtonian made what appeared to be a III-percenter hand signal.
Members of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department stood nearby with plastic handcuffs, and kept an eye on the Black Lives Matter protesters, and the few who were counter protesting the BLM protest, including a man holding a flag.
Some on motorcycles passed blaring loud rock music to drown out the voices of the Black Lives Matter protesters, but the rally went on with a host of speakers, including Bloomington activist Vauhxx Booker who told the account of the lynching of a black Hoosier in the 1860s shortly after the Civil War.
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