Rival groups gather at Kentucky Derby as summer of protests grinds on

Rival groups gather at Kentucky Derby as summer of protests grinds on

Hundreds gather to protest the death of Breonna Taylor and other forms of racial injustices in Loui
A man stands with a semiautomatic rifle during a rally against the death of Breonna Taylor and other forms of racial injustices, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., June 27, 2020. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

REUTERS: Rival protesters gathered near the famed Kentucky Derby horse race on Saturday (Sep 5) as dueling demonstrations over racial justice and support for police ground on across US cities.

A group of about 200 pro-police demonstrators called "The Angry Vikings" assembled in Louisville, Kentucky, home of the horse race at Churchill Downs, local media said.

Nearby, marchers recalling the death of Breonna Taylor will hold a protest outside the Churchill Downs track as the spectatorless derby unfolds inside.

Taylor, a Black 26-year-old medical worker, was killed in March by Louisville police who burst into her apartment with guns bearing a "no-knock" arrest warrant.

Demonstrations against racism and police brutality have swept the United States since the death in May of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Overnight, protests by supporters of Taylor ended at about 3am Saturday near Churchill Downs with people chanting "No justice, no peace," and the slogan, "Say her name," in reference to Taylor.

In Atlanta early Saturday, a group with flags and banners in support of President Donald Trump had planned a convoy to loop around the city, including going through some predominantly Black neighborhoods.

But the group's leaders changed plans after hearing rumors that counter-protesters with the Black Lives Matter group planned to gather along their route.

In Portland, Oregon - a protest flashpoint - police arrested 27 people overnight, mostly on charges of interfering with law enforcement or disorderly conduct.

"Officers began to make targeted arrests and in some cases moved the crowd back and kept them out of the street," police said in a press release on Saturday.

One arrested protester was injured with a "bleeding abrasion" on her head, police said.

EPICENTER

Portland has become the epicenter of demonstrations, with protests taking place nightly over the last three months calling for policing and social justice reforms. These have at times turned into clashes between demonstrators and officers, as well as between right- and left-wing groups.

Police shot and killed a self-declared anti-fascist activist in Washington state on Thursday night as they moved in to arrest him on suspicion he fatally shot a right-wing counterprotester last weekend in Portland.

The Trump administration deployed federal forces to Portland in July to crack down on the protests. Trump signed a memo on Wednesday that threatens to cut federal funding to "lawless" cities, including Portland.

His Democratic challenger in the Nov. 3 presidential election, Joe Biden, has accused Trump of stoking violence with his rhetoric.

In Rochester, New York on Friday night nearly 1,000 demonstrators marched downtown to protest the March death of black man Daniel Prude in police custody. Police used pepper balls to clear protesters during protests the night before, according to local news reports.

This week, both Trump, a Republican, and Biden visited Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Midwest city was the site of clashes among protesters, police and militia after police there shot Jacob Blake, a Black painter, in the back seven times.

Biden met with Blake's family and spoke with Blake on the telephone and has expressed sympathy with people protesting police violence.

Trump toured damaged businesses, decried what he calls "lawless" protesters and defended police departments as upholders of "law and order," while declining to condemn right-wing armed vigilantes who have been accused of attacking protesters in Kenosha.

A group called RefuseFascism.org said it has organized protests in 23 cities on Saturday, calling Trump's actions a form of fascism that will worsen if he is elected for a second term.

Source: Reuters

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