After weeks of nationwide unrest and daily protests, a Tampa rally in support of police is now planned for this weekend.
The “Back the Blue” rally is set to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Tampa Police Department’s District 1 headquarters, 3818 W. Tampa Bay Blvd.
“We have 1 agenda, that is: That our men and women in Blue, and their families, hear and see that they ARE appreciated, and we stand united with the millions of LEOs who love and serve so well,” the Facebook event page reads.
The event will consist of a peaceful walk and participants will wave signs and flags, according to the Facebook page.
“There are peaceful marches that have been about George Floyd and race, but the riots are criminal tragedies," said organizer Kristen Krutz to the Tampa Bay Times. "They’re attacking men who had nothing to do with his death or police brutality. We’re trying to keep the rally about what has been done to innocent police officers who have served and loved their community well.”
It's important to note that using the word "riot" to refer to property damage caused by a select few opportunists opens up a loaded conversation about why peaceful protests are happening in the first place. During a six-minute and 42-second speech at the Rose Garden on June 1, Trump—who then used National Guard troops to clear protestors so he could have a photo opp near St John's Episcopal church across Lafayette Park—said the word five times. And we know how Trump likes to use words to divide the nation.
As Time pointed out, "While ['riot'] aptly describes some events that have unfolded during the past two weeks, using it risks eclipsing the full picture by zooming in on a small, sensational slice of the action."
Cassandra Kistler, one of the "Back the Blue' event page hosts, said the department is aware of the march and have been communicating with the organizers daily.
“They will already be heading out after our march to deal with a protest so we are there lifting their spirits!” she wrote.
The May 25 death of George Floyd by a police officer has incited protests across the country—and internationally—for the last several weeks. While mostly peaceful, the Tampa Bay area protests have been met with tension, leading to criticism of police force and calls on TPD to cut the use of tear gas and non-lethal rounds.
Also this weekend, several coastal Florida locations will be seeing “Trumptilla” parades, as boaters take to the water in support of Donald Trump on both his birthday and Flag Day Sunday.
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