With a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol helicopter circling overhead for hours, sheriff’s office officials peering out from the courthouse, and frequent drive-by police patrols, the Black Lives Matter protest staged Thursday at the downtown plaza grew to about 50 supporters and three counter-protestors.
The event took place from 5-8 p.m., with the bulk of people showing up mid-way through. Participants there for both the Black Lives Matter rally as well the counter-protestors remained calm. One person in attendance outside of the Uvalde County Courthouse openly-carried an assault rifle, handgun, and extra magazines clipped at his waist.
Some passers-by honked in encouragement, others yelled messages varying from support to disapproval, while most of the traffic traveled routinely through the intersection.
The community-wide invitation to join Black Lives Matter supporters downtown instructed participants to remain on the sidewalk and behave, in recognition of other protests that have devolved into looting and rioting across the nation, even as near as San Antonio where downtown businesses were vandalized and even the Alamo was tagged with graffiti.
Many protestors in downtown Uvalde wore masks, waving handmade signs. Some were hastily scrawled on cardboard or posterboard while others were brightly colored and illustrated, with all asking passers-by to stand for justice for people of color.
A minority of signs carried anti-police messages, although one featured an acronym referencing a foul statement.
At least two supporters exchanged pleasantries with Dr. Alma Arredondo-Lynch, a Uvalde dentist who has twice sought the Republican Party’s nomination for Texas Congressional District 23. Lynch carried a sign reading “All Lives Matter, Whites Too,” a statement frequently decried by Black Lives Matter supporters as subverting their message.
More than a dozen law enforcement vehicles were parked outside the Uvalde County Courthouse before the scheduled 5 p.m. start of the protest, with their correspondent law enforcement officers watching the proceedings from within the Uvalde County Courthouse.
The overhead USBP helicopter stayed close to the downtown area, and roving Uvalde Police Department units circled the area every few minutes. Other officers were stationed around the plaza. Protestors shared signs and distributed water to each other as well as officers on foot.
The event ended on schedule, well in advance of the 11 p.m. curfew Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin Jr. implemented one week ago today to deter any plans toward riots or looting.
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