Local protest peaceful
NEW ULM — Peaceful demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd gathered at the Center and Broadway Saturday. The protest began at 3:30 p.m. and grew to over a dozen people.
The protest was not organized by any group. Individuals began gathering at the intersection throughout the afternoon.
Protestor Emma Nelson said her main hope to come out of the protest was police would stop killing unarmed black men.
Nelson said there were some businesses worried the protest would attract violence. One man driving past yelled at the protestors to “go home” because the protest would “bring chaos.”
Nelson gave assurance the participants were non-violent and had no intention of looting or burning buildings as had been seen in the Twin Cities and other American cities over the last few days.
Nelson was optimistic these recent protests would have an impact.
“More people are involved this time,” she said. The death of Floyd was videotaped, and the evidence a police officer was responsible looked clear. “There is no other way to swing it,” she said.
Many of those driving through the intersection honked in support of the protestors. Those opposed to the protest gave a thumbs down as they drove by or told the protestors to “get a job.” The protestors responded that they were only able to attend because it was Saturday and it was their weekend off.
The protestors on Saturday were unorganized, but the group Equality From New Ulm was planning a protest for Sunday. This was canceled. The organizer for Sunday’s protest, Casey McMullen, said they received credible information that outside agitators might come to New Ulm on Sunday to disrupt the protest. Similar actions had occurred in Minneapolis and Mankato.
McMullen said the spontaneous protest on Saturday was great. Since the event was not planned, outside groups could not organize in time to disrupt it, but the Sunday protest had already received too much publicity.
McMullen and other members of Equality From New Ulm were concerned about the overall safety of participants and the community. If a protest were to happen on Sunday and outside groups used it as an excuse to cause violence, the protestors and the cause would be blamed.
The New Ulm Human Rights Commission (HRC) is planning a sign based demonstration. The plan is to place signs against racism throughout the community. The HRC is planning to hold a special meeting Wednesday, June 3, to discuss this issue further.