KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A peaceful rally supporting local law enforcement, quickly turned confrontational when demonstrators were met by counter-protesters.
Back the Blue supporters gathered Saturday at the KPD headquarters to show their support for law enforcement.
Becky Jones, one of the organizers of the Back the Blue rally, said in response to recent events in the country, it was important for her and all those in attendance to show the Knoxville Police Department and other local law enforcement that they had community support.
“Sometimes law enforcement, they’re not able to go out into the community and a lot of times, they’re just not welcome there. So we are being that voice for them today.” Jones said.
Counter protesters made an appearance at the rally to voice their opinions and views of law enforcement. The Back the Blue demonstrators remained peaceful, staying silent mostly, as counter protesters chanted, and gave speeches.
“They have every right in the world to be over there saying exactly what they’re saying, and doing what they’re doing until you break the law.” said Rick Wertz, a Back the Blue supporter.
At one point during the rally, the Roughnecks of Tennessee motorcycle group also showed up at the rally, parking their bikes right in front of the Back the Blue supporters, standing in solidarity with them. They also remained silent as counter protesters chanted “Black lives Matter”.
There were a few moments during the rally where tempers flared, and words were exchanged between the two groups, but it never became physical.
Counter protesters say protesting the rally was one of the only ways they felt their concerns about law enforcement would be heard.
“Our voices are not heard when things are brought to law enforcements attention, they’re not heard in any other manner. They are only heard when you come together as a team, as a group, as a community.” said Nikki Horton, a counter protester.
Ultimately, the rally ended peacefully. Back the Blue rally organizers were not rattled by the counter-protesters and say this won’t be their last demonstration.
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