“Black Lives Matter in the Illinois Valley” had its third La Salle demonstration in recent weeks on Saturday. The group made a march their response to the “Back the Blue” rally and parade associated with Donald Trump’s campaign. The counter-demonstrators walked nearly two miles to the Peru police station.
Before things got going, incoming La Salle Police Chief Mike Smudzinski and his Peru counterpart Chief Doug Bernabei dropped in on the Black Lives Matter group, making sure they had what they needed and telling organizers that both police forces would be lining the route to protect them on their walk. Smudzinski talked about law enforcement’s goal for the march.
At the staging area, one of the speakers, Gabriela Ortiz, said that no lives matter until black lives matter. The walk ended with the standard nine minutes of silence to recognize the amount of time 46-year-old George Floyd was held down at the neck by Minneapolis police officers in May before he died.
On the way, Lisa Chounard of Peru said she wants to de-fund the police.
One marcher looked to have slogans jotted down on the reverse of her sign. One appeared to say “Trump is a Nazi.” Another said the only blue she backs is the U.S. Postal Service. WLPO News’ Tom Henson was reporting for a sister station when he caught up to the marcher, whose voice was muffled by her mask.
You can find videos of both demonstrations on the WLPO and WAJK Facebook pages.