TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Hundreds of protesters from rival groups descended on Louisville, Kentucky, with armed pro-police activists facing off with anti-racism protesters.
As Kentucky Derby Day finally arrived in Louisville, hundreds of armed militia members marched through the city’s downtown to confront Black Lives Matter supporters who have been demonstrating for 101 straight days.
A crowd of self-identified “patriots” carrying long guns — some waving American flags, others waving Trump flags, marched from a parking lot to the downtown area, where another group was calling for action in the Breonna Taylor case, the New York Post reported.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was shot dead when police burst into her home in the middle of the night on March 13.
There was shouting between the two sides when they came into contact, but despite some tense moments, the interactions appeared largely peaceful. No police were present on the ground during the confrontation, according to local radio station WFPL, though some were on rooftops and in nearby streets.
Simultaneously, a large group of Black Lives Matter, Until Freedom, and other activists also marched to the track, chanting “No justice, no Derby,” blasting the city for holding recreational and leisure “celebrations” while the country is gripped by “systemic racism.”
Earlier in the day, a 250-strong group of armed self-declared pro-police “Patriots” dressed in tactical gear marched downtown. Carrying US flags and chanting “USA!” and “Back the blue,” the group declared that they were sick and tired of the chaos and anarchy across the country, and in Louisville in particular.
Near Jefferson Square Park, the “Patriots” were met by a group of BLM protesters. Amid a tense standoff – in the absence of police, who decided to “let groups exercise rights” – rival activists kept yelling at each other, but refrained from violence.
Police officers moved in to separate the groups only once the majority of both camps had dispersed, local media reported. A total of three people were arrested over the course of the day – for criminal mischief, marijuana possession and possession of a gun by a convicted felon – but none of them were related to the Churchill Downs rallies or Jefferson Square Park standoff.