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Weekend Michiana protests remain nonviolent, despite other Indiana cities

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - This weekend was full of protests and demonstrations not only in the Michiana area but around the country.

Although many became violent in cities like Minneapolis, Chicago and even Indianapolis and Fort Wayne,  the protests held in Michiana remained peaceful.

The protests across the country this past weekend were held to not only speak out against the officer-involved killing of an unarmed black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis but also bring back the spotlight on police brutality and accountability.

“It’s finally hitting home for people. We can’t take this anymore and it’s great that so many people showed up to the protest. So many people using their righteous rage to actually try to make some substantive change and that has been a long time coming,” Emmanuel Cannady, a Black Lives Matter activist said.

While some Indiana cities like Fort Wayne and Indianapolis had protests turn into riots, here in Michiana, the demonstrations remained peaceful.

“The folks that organized it wanted it peaceful so that’s what it was,” Cannady said.

“Everyone has the right to protest, obviously, this tragic killing and our fop would like to thank our community for showing leadership through peaceful protest,” Harvey Mills the President of the South Bend Fraternal Order of Police. “We’re hoping that the south bend community will continue to be an example for the state and the country.”

Even some local police officials in Michigan City taking in questions and talking with protestors.
Now the topic of looting and rioting is highly debated across social media with some saying the riots are valid.

“Personally, I think it’s justified anger at this point. When people have nothing else left, that’s what they’re going to resort to. It’s not an act of violence against their own neighborhood so to speak, it’s an act of violence against the system that has been violent to the people systemically,” Cannady said.

While others say violence is never a means to an end.

“Certainly we support protests however we do not support behavior that we’ve seen in other cities,” Michael Patton the President of the local NAACP chapter said. “Certainly George Floyd would be dishonored by doing that. We believe in peaceful marches protests and our city was a model for that.”

Some say the reason why protests were peaceful over the weekend is because of how the police handled the situation.

“One of our Black Lives Matter South Bend members was in Indianapolis. She said that the protests were actually incredibly peaceful when she first got there but it was actually when the police started tear-gassing that it became. The people fought back that’s when you saw the violence,” Cannady said.

“Our police department was ready in case any lawlessness did occur. I think for the most part our officers tried to stay back and let those people protest that wanted to protest,” Mills said.

The Black Live Matter Movement is having a national call to action week in response to the killing. So the local South Bend chapter is holding events this week to continue the conversation.

Although BLM members locally say the protests will likely die down in the coming weeks. there is a scheduled youth-run protest that is going to be held here at the Morris Performing Arts Center on Friday.

Other events include a Chalk the Sidewalk for Black Lives event outside of the county city building on Wednesday. It is being held to “discuss officer-involved murders of black men and women.”

It's not only to address South Bend’s own officer-involved shooting of Eric Logan last June but for other names out there like George Floyd.

There will also be several zoom seminars this week held by BLM.

“The conversation for a lot of folks has never stopped. And I think for a lot of new folks that are just coming into the conversation. And we need to continue this but we need to do more than just talk. We need to act. We need to vote. We need to show up at council meetings,” Cannady said.

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