WAPAKONETA — A peaceful protest took place in downtown Wapakoneta Saturday afternoon.
People supporting Black Lives Matter stopped in Wapakoneta before moving on to Sidney, Piqua and Troy.
One of the organizers, from Columbus who identified herself only as “Blue,” explained why they were in Wapakoneta.
“To get a point across that we need peace and justice, and we want people to know that black lives matter. I mean, like, all lives do matter, but it came out into Black Lives Matter so our point today is to make sure that everybody knows where we’re coming from. We’re not here to riot. We’re not here to fight. We’re just here to calmly protest,” Blue said.
The group marched to the Auglaize County Courthouse where they were met by a larger crowd, many with pro-Trump flags, some with Confederate flags, a few with handguns and a couple of vehicles with QAnon sayings on them.
Their presence didn’t seem to bother Blue.
“I’m a strong black woman. Nothing intimidates me,” Blue said.
Law enforcement kept the two sides apart, although some anti-BLM protesters did engage protesters.
Brian Sutton, of Wapakoneta, who was there to “defend my community.”
“I believe Black Lives Matter. Absolutely. There’s no doubt about it, just like all other lives matter. Now. They’re not about Black Lives Matter. They’re not. They have their own agenda,” Sutton said.
Anson Adkins, of Wapakoneta, carried a gun to the protest. He said he was willing to listen.
“The media has kind of shown that these things can get a little funky, and I’m always a believer that proper showing keeps things peaceful,” Adkins said. “I think that BLM as far as what it stands for on the surface is perfectly fine. The parts of it where it’s turning into destruction of private citizens property, that has nothing to do with the movement itself. That’s what I oppose.”
Some of the BLM protesters were students.
Madeline Dorsett, a junior at Wapakoneta High School, said that it’s a discussion that’s long overdue.
“Well, for about six months now, obviously the Black Lives Matter movement has been going on, and there’s not a lot of talk about it in Wapak. I think this is really a place where people need to start talking about it. Because I mean, there’s a lot of people with prejudice. I live in Wapak, and I mean, we really need to get a conversation going here,” Dorsett said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.