Black Lives Matter holds peaceful Newport protest

NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE) — Hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters marched through the streets of Newport on Saturday, chanting while making stops at the police headquarters and at the county courthouse.

In the midst of massive protests around the world — and separate violence and vandalism this week — some families say they were initially cautious.

“We made sure to stay on the perimeter at first to feel out the situation,” said Veronica Chobanian of Portsmouth. “And once you could sense the peacefulness and the unity, we decided to come in closer so the children could really appreciate what was happening here.”

And what was happening was a celebration intended to lift up some of the most oppressed, who grappling with a sense of injustice after the death of George Floyd.

“To see others come out of all nationalities, races, it means that we’re not alone, and I appreciate that,” said Tamica Jefferson of Providence.

Organizers say the goal for this event, unlike some others around the world, was peace.

“I didn’t expect this many people, but it was great,” said Justice Alfred of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island. “One of the things that we were very, very concerned with was that the violence was kept in check.”

Instead passions were channeled into rousing speeches in the park at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

Jefferson says it’s inspiring her to turn the cry of “I can’t breathe” into an empowering message.

“We will breathe,” she insisted. “We will breathe.”

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island