ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – In response to a Black Lives Matter protest that was rumored to take place in downtown St. George Saturday evening, hundreds of counter-protesters arrived downtown fearing that a BLM protest would result into a riot. However, BLM protesters failed to materialize in St. George.
According to the St. George News, fears of BLM riots were sparked on social media that protesters were going to be brought in from out of town by the busloads. The rumors even caught the attention of the police department, although the rumored protests never happened.
Police made preparations for the rumored riots while two citizen groups organized their own responses, some of whom were visibly armed.
According to St. George News, a local retired police officer organized one of the groups countering BLM. The group grew in downtown St. George to about 200 people. Amid the group there were reportedly several american flags, blue thin line flags, and some Trump 2020 flags.
The other group that was present was the Liberty Action Coalition. Chairwomen Patricia Kent told St. George News that their group’s goal is to protect the city and its people from the potential violence and destruction that have accompanied riots elsewhere
St. George News reports that several members of both groups were armed with pistols and AR-style rifles.
Throughout Saturday evening, both groups eventually gathered near the county administration buildings with about 400 people present. In contrast, a small group of about 20 BLM supporters were also present in downtown St. George.
Counter-protesters from the two groups told St. George News that although the rumored busloads of BLM protesters didn’t appear, they consider the event a success as they said it showed people that live in St. George will not tolerate threats of violent riots.