Separate messages on separate sidewalks: BLM Protestors and counter-protestors crowd Downtown Ocala
More than 150 people stood at every street corner outside of Ocala’s Downtown Square to protest for Black Lives Matter or for President Donald Trump’s re-election.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The voices of Black Lives Matter protesters up against President Donald Trump supporters drowned out the sound of rush hour traffic in Downtown Ocala Wednesday afternoon.
The street wasn’t the only dividing factor between the two groups.
“These messages, these aren’t partisan messages,” said Black Lives Matter supporter Patrick Miller.
The protest was organized by Marion County Young Democrats and Miller says their message is one of justice, not politics.
“This is an all encompassing, inclusive group that we want to include everybody,” said Miller. “Just come talk to us, let us know what you’re thinking and we will answer questions. We want to bring everyone into this because the fight for justice like I said it’s not partisan. It’s not one sided it’s not one race, it’s not one gender, it’s not one sexuality, it’s everyone. It’s all encompassing and we want everyone involved.”
A quick trip across the street was a different sentiment as supporters of President Trump outnumbered the opposing side.
“I served for the red, white and blue and the stars and for what we stand for and freedom,” said David Reeve, a counter-protester and veteran.
Members of the Florida Patriots RTS, the North Florida Patriots, the three-percenters and a biker group made up the crowd including Reeve who served in the military for 21 years.
“I still defend that today,” added Reeve. “My enlistment didn’t end the day I retired in 2003, I’m still a patriot. And I still respect my flag, I still say my pledge of allegiance.”
All majors and executive staff with the Ocala Police Department kept patrol of this area to keep the peace and make sure protesters and counter-protestors had an opportunity to have their voices heard.
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