Lingering effects of Fresno Black Lives Matter protest

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The rally was much bigger than almost anyone expected-- even organizers who wanted to send a loud message. (KFSN)

The Black Lives Matter rally here in the Valley on Saturday turned into a march and disrupted lives all over Fresno and Clovis. And yet, both police and protesters are calling it a success.

Anger or disgust at sometimes, deadly police interactions with suspects fueled hundreds of protesters crisscrossing Fresno and Clovis Saturday. But nearly every time emotions seemed to bubble up, someone stepped in to cool tempers.

"These dudes got families just like we do," said a protester trying to cool off an angry fellow protester.

The rally was much bigger than almost anyone expected-- even organizers who wanted to send a loud message.

"It defied expectations as far as numbers, and then, also, what the rally spread into because we originally didn't anticipate being in the road," said Jamal Bethea, activist.

Bethea said the sheer size of the crowd made it harder to manage. His group never intended to leave Blackstone and Shaw, where they gathered in the first place.

"Yes, we disrupted some people's lives and probably disrupted some businesses as a result of that march, but we didn't have any injuries or anything of that nature," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Chief Dyer said the protest was mostly a success. He said officers are looking for a few protestors who may have broken the law along the way. But for the most part, it was a positive interaction.

"It's my hope that the people who were out there protesting saw how much effort we put into keeping them safe, and even the effort we put into getting them back to their original location safely."

Dyer arranged for a bus to take protesters from Clovis back to Blackstone and Shaw to keep them safe and to reduce the impact on businesses and traffic.

Even on the bus ride back, he said, some protesters had negative things to say about officers. But Bethea said the goal of ending all kinds of violence feels closer now.

"The point of the movement is to project diversity. Even the diversity we have in this room is what's so essential and important to see within this movement because there's strength in numbers and at the end of the day, all lives matter."

Dyer said it cost more than $18,000 to police the rally.

There's another, smaller march scheduled for Wednesday.
Related Topics:
societyprotestblack lives matterfresnojerry dyerfresno police departmentFresno
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