Supporters, Black Lives Matter activists show up to canceled ‘defend the police’ rally; 2 arrested


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ What was supposed to be a rally to support the Providence Police Department ultimately turned into a Black Lives Matter demonstration Thursday evening after the original event was canceled because of the weather.

Even though the “Back the Blue” rally was called off, a handful of supporters showed up outside the city’s police department anyway to their support. Black Lives Matter advocates have been demanding the state reallocate funding away from the department or abolish it completely.

Those who showed up to defend the police were met by approximately two dozen counter protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement.

As the initial rally wrapped up, the crowd of counter protesters came face-to-face with Providence officers in riot gear.

Providence Police Commander Thomas Verdi tells Eyewitness News two people were arrested during the brief confrontation.

Verdi said an 18-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man were both charged with simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The man was also charged with possession of a prohibited weapon (knife).

Eventually the activists began marching away from the department toward Broadway, where they blocked the road off to traffic briefly before dispersing.

It does not appear that a new date has been set yet for the canceled rally.

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