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Multiple protests, marches in Davenport Saturday

From protests to marches and even counter-protests, many exercised their right to protest in Davenport all day Saturday.
Published: Aug. 22, 2020 at 11:28 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - From protests to marches and even counter-protests, many exercised their right to protest in Davenport all day Saturday.

Early Saturday morning, people gathered to rally in support of their second amendment rights, law enforcement, veterans, and other first responders on the corner of River Drive and S Gaines Street. On the diagonal corner was a group of counter-protesters. On each side of the road stood two groups. Different flags. Different voices. Different messages.

For Jeremy, the American patriot 2A march was a way to support the second amendment.

“Kinda my main reason I’m out here is to support the second amendment, support our right to bear arms, and also accessories. That’s why I have this sign. That’s why I have an oil filter covering my suppressor as an act of protest against national firearms act laws which regulates the possession and transfer of silencers,” he said as he mentioned the list of other devices with strict regulations. “Also the rest of the group is here to support police and yeah trying to avoid the defunding of police.”

He said regulations surrounding things like the possession of gun silencers isn't something he supports.

"Police as a whole, as our part of society, they're a very important part of society and I think we've given them a little bit too much authority in some places, and it's a lot to do with the regulators regulating a whole lot of laws that criminalize activity that doesn't harm anyone," he said.

Across the street, Eric Puryear was among a group that came out early to counter-protest ahead of a separate event he organized.

“If their goal is to support the police, support first responders, support veterans, support the second amendment that’s a fine message. I’m an NRA certified firearms instructor. I’m a huge advocate for armed self-defense. I teach permit to carry classes. I love firearms and safe and lawful use of them,” he said.

However, Puryear said that one of the organizers' messages promotes hate.

“There’s lots of ways to support that without showing up at the rally organized by the person who has the confederate flag, neo-nazi imagery and violent rhetoric about running over protestors on his public Facebook page,” Puryear said.

When asked about the counter-protests across the street, Jeremy said they had every right to be there and he supported them doing so.

“There’s a lot of stuff I agree with, with Black Lives Matter, and there’s a lot of stuff I disagree with, but you know what? They have every right as we do to be here. This is one of the founding principles of our country. Is to be allowed to protest. To be allowed to peaceably assemble and to voice our opinions..voice our ideas,” said Jeremy.

In the early afternoon, several dozens of protesters took to Vander Veer Park to bring awareness to human trafficking. Dozens of families held signs to bring awareness to what is considered a form of modern-day slavery. Shawna, Emilee, and Isaac were among the dozens who protested at the event.

“It’s sad and we wanted to bring light to it here and put recognization to human trafficking that it’s here and we need to save our kids,” Shawna said. “They don’t have a voice. We need to be our kid’s voice.”

“Yeah we need to be a voice for the voiceless”, Emilee chimed in.

“Yeah kids don’t just disappear,” Shawn said.

Chelsecy Johnston, the organizer, said as a part of today’s protest they had pamphlets for anyone who wanted to learn more about Family Resources, a resource here in the Quad Cities.

“If you guys do want more information, Family Resources is a great way to start. They can give you all the tips, all the advice that you need and you guys can even volunteer there. You can volunteer to help children in our community and all of that so it’s a really great cause and if you can, if you have the time you should really do it,” she said.

Johnston also said this is just the beginning and they’re going to try to do one every month.

On Saturday evening in front of the Davenport Police Station, a protest against police brutality & racism was held. Roughly a dozen speakers spoke at the gathering with personal anecdotes of their experiences with police and the current issues. Travis Schlitter, the co-organizer, said there's a long list of changes he hopes to see.

“Things like qualified immunity, some of the situations of police not being held accountable for their actions. The message I would take is that we’re going to be here. We’re going to keep making noise until we see those changes actually take place,” he said.

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