Local activists: State House vandalism didn’t distract from protest message


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As cities coast to coast clean up after peaceful demonstrators disintegrated into chaos overnight, Providence remained mostly unscathed.

At the Rhode Island State House, windows are boarded up and spray paint is splashed across steps after vandals showed up hours after a peaceful protest of thousands in the city.

On Sunday, Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, who organized the rally to protest the death of George Floyd said the vandalism did not distract from their message.

“It was a peaceful rally. It was non violent. The energy was about getting the message across,” Brother Gary Dantzler said.

“I understand the outrage and the passion of the youth, but our overall event was peaceful. It’s not about us being divided,” Mark Fisher said.

“They came out, the energy was incredible between black and whites, and we want to keep up that energy,” Aisha Hall said.

The group said its strong relationship with the Providence Police Department contributed to the protest remaining peaceful. Police confirmed no arrests were made at the rally.

Gov. Gina Raimondo joined the conversation on Twitter Sunday, but did not directly address the vandalism.

“In hard times, we turn to our faith communities. This morning at mass, I prayed for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and for every American who is made to live in fear because of the color of their skin. But I also know that prayer alone is not enough — it must be coupled with action. Now more than ever, we must recommit ourselves to rooting out racism and intolerance in all its ugly forms.”

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