PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Two groups of protesters with different messages gathered in Parkland right across the street from each other.
Saturday’s “Back the Blue” rally happened at the same time as a Black Lives Matter protest in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Dozens of participants in each group aimed to have their message heard loud and clear.
“USA!” chanted Blue Lives Matter demonstrators.
“No justice, no peace!” chanted Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
“We’ve seen so much injustice within this community,” said Black Lives Matter protester Hannah Karcinell.
“I’m just taking a stand for my country. I’m taking a stand for law and order,” said a Blue Lives Matter protester.
The Black Lives Matter protest was organized by the parents of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed in the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High.
The teen’s parents said they held the protest in honor of their son, who supported the movement.
“Joaquin was very concerned about the Black Lives Matter movement. More than once, he expressed his support, and I’m here to express his support,” said Oliver’s father, artist Manuel Oliver.
Dozens called for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Across the street, dozens more gathered in support of law enforcement.
“Back the Blue” rally organizer Andrew Klein said you can’t blame all police for the actions of a few.
“There was an incident at Stoneman Douglas that everyone’s well aware of, and that was a failure of police. [The death of] George Floyd was an absolute failure of police, and there needs to be accountability,” he said, “but at the same time, you don’t eliminate all police because of one or two bad incidents.”
Blue Lives Matter demonstrators added that they support everyone’s right to make their voices heard.
“It’s a fundamental right. We have a right to dissent. We have a right to protest,” said a Blue Lives Matter protester. “That’s as American as apple pie. Just do it peacefully.”
The Black Lives Matter group continued their demonstration by marching to Pine Trails Park.
“Black students and Black people living within the community do not feel supported,” said Karcinell.
“Well, I hope this is not over until we find real change,” said Manuel Oliver.
Meanwhile, Blue Lives Matter protesters said this is a time for Americans to show their patriotism.
“If we don’t support our country and our police, then this country will not continue to exist,” said Blue Lives Matter demonstrator Thomas James.
Both events remained peaceful. There was very little interaction between both groups.
Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.