Miami coalition to hold patriotism rally in Bayfront Park

MIAMI (WSVN) - A new local organization has announced they will be holding a rally promoting patriotism at Bayfront Park.

Evelio Medina, the founder of Law-Abiding Citizens Coalition, spoke about the rally Friday afternoon in downtown Miami, where the statue of Christopher Columbus was vandalized during Thursday’s protest.

“We can agree to disagree every day, but we are defending what is important and that is freedom,” said Medina.

Just days after another protest in Miami escalated to violence and vandalism, some like Medina are saying they’ve had enough.

“I founded, just a couple of days ago, the Law Abiding Citizens Coalition,” he said.

Medina, who is also the downtown Miami and Brickell Chamber of Commerce President, said the agitators causing damage to the city need to stop.

“You can protest peacefully, but you are not going to run us out of our country,” he said.

Medina is asking people not to judge all police officers because of the bad actions of a few.

He said the coalition will be hosting a rally on Sunday to promote patriotism.

“There’s room for everybody as long as it’s peaceful and as long as it’s law-abiding,” he said.

For nearly two weeks straight we’ve seen protests all throughout South Florida calling for justice for George Floyd.

“We’re here protesting police brutality,” said one protester.

“We’re peaceful. You know, everybody here is peaceful. Nobody condones looting, nobody condones violence at all. We’re not here for that. We’re here for police reform, and police brutality needs to stop,” said another protester.

And while a large majority of marches and demonstrations have been peaceful, it was a much different scene on May 30.

Police cars were set on fire, tear gas was used on protesters, and stores were looted.

“When that protest crosses the line and damages property, that’s something we’re not going to tolerate,” Miami mayor Francis Suarez said.

Seven people were arrested on Wednesday after two statues of Christopher Columbus and Ponce De Leon were vandalized in downtown Miami, leading to a tense scene with police.

“A couple of our officers were hit over the head with skateboards, and one of our officer’s windshields was cracked by a skateboard,” Miami Police officer Michael Vega said.

Medina made a symbolic gesture Friday by placing an American flag over the graffiti on the Christopher Columbus statue.

“We’re not saying America is perfect, but let me say, I’ve traveled the world and there is nothing like America,” he said.​

According to Medina, the patriotism rally will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

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