A Blue Lives Matter rally outside Bloomington City Hall on Monday evening drew about 15 people.
Organizer Regina Noland said she wanted to say thanks to the Bloomington Police Department and intended nothing by having the rally just after an alt-right demonstration in Virginia that resulted in the death of a counterprotestor.
Black Lives Matter supporters have said they believe black lives do matter less than white lives to those in power in America. They tend to view Blue Lives Matter as rejecting their value or as a code phrase asserting white privilege.
"I had no clue. I thought it was just something to use that was catchy for the Bloomington Police Department," said Noland.
Noland said she had no other intention.
"Well, the way I understood it is that you are in support of the police department. That's it, plain and simple," said Noland.
She said her event just happened to fall the Monday after the Charlottesville killing. She said she had seen other rallies coming up as she set hers a couple weeks ago.
Noland called the incidents in Charlottesville horrible and disgusting. She rejected the notion that timing matters and said she never considered cancelling.
Noland also declined to address the presence of two photos of people with Confederate flags on her Facebook feed. She said she doesn't think there is anything she can say to put people's minds at ease about those flags. She declined to say whether she believes the Confederate flag has symbolic meaning today. She said only that the flag photos have nothing to do with the Bloomington Police Department and the rally.
Black Lives Matter and the progressive group Voices of Reason urged their members to stay away from the rally and not engage those who showed up. A few did anyway but stayed to the edge of the area and did not counter demonstrate.
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