“Back the Blue” Rally in Marion This Weekend
A movement that aims to show support for the police in a time when they are the subject of tense scrutiny following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and more, is mobilizing for a rally in Marion this weekend.
"Back the Blue", which also salutes the military in its effort, was scheduled to take place several weeks ago in downtown Cedar Rapids but will now happen Saturday at Marion Square Park, according to Iowa's News Now. Marion police officers will be patrolling the area but will not be part of the rally and they hope for peaceful co-existence between the "Back the Blue" participants and participants in any "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations that are rumored to be planned, although a spokesperson for the Marion Alliance for Racial Equality says they don't have any such events planned.
"Back the Blue" is drawing criticism from "Black Lives Matter" advocates who think the wrong message is being sent. Sophia Joseph said her group is being encouraged to counter-protest the Back The Blue demonstrators but said "we don't want to counter-rally them. We don't want to draw attention to them. We don't necessarily want to legitimatize their message that we are against police". She also noted her group believes in supporting police. Both groups say they are not trying to pit themselves against each other.
Gage West is the organizer of this rally and invites the public to meet at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday near the intersection of 10th Street and 7th Avenue at City Square Park.