Groups supporting Springfield law enforcement and Black Lives Matter marched and rallied. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOB WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHY
SPRINGFIELD – Two groups of protesters descended upon downtown streets, culminating in a rally at City Hall, in an overall peaceful protest with sporadic heated exchanges on Monday, June 22.
The evening began with an “appreciation parade” for the Springfield Police Department at 5:30 p.m., when the pro-police marchers paraded from the Springfield Public Library to the Springfield City Center, waving flags and holding signs of support.
That march was closely followed by a group supporting Black Lives Matter.
Protesters on both sides confronted each other in close quarters, sometimes in heated arguments.
Springfield’s Ryan Bunlap, 52, was face-to-face with a BLM protester shouting, “No justice, no peace.” Bunlap attended the event armed with a gun and ammo vest, he said, as his way of showing police support.
Bunlap said remaining calm while being yelled at was one of the hardest things he’s done. “It was a parade to celebrate the police. This is why we’re here, because of the rioting. They need to grow up,” he said.
The BLM protesters remained in front of the Springfield City Center for more than an hour, holding signs and chanting slogans.
SPD made one arrest.
Isiah Wagoner, 29, of Eugene helped mediate arguments.
“I’m just here to keep the peace,” said Wagoner, standing out in the crowd with his cheetah print onsie. A regular at rallies, he said the outfits helps spread love and make people laugh.
A protester holds a sign that represents the case for both groups rallying in Springfield on Monday night. More than 1,000 people gathered in demonstrations to support the Springfield Police Department and the Black Lives Matter movement. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOB WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHY