Protests, marches held in downtown Columbia

W11 P Friday Protests

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — On Friday, protesters took to the streets of downtown Columbia, marking the 57th anniversary of the Walk on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Black Lives Matter South Carolina (BLM SC) also used marched to get people registered to vote.

“I think I have just been too unresponsive for too many years about the fact that we need to make a difference as well for everybody,” said Pamela Kloot, a protester.

Several organizations were involved in Friday’s rally; including BLM SC, Amplify Action and National Action Network. Protesters first met at Memorial Park where they heard speeches and honored the anniversary of the Walk on Washington, and then marched to Lindsey Graham’s office.

Later in the afternoon, BLM SC held a march from Memorial Park to the State House where people were then able to register to vote or request an absentee ballot.

“Here is one common cause that we have amongst us. And the common cause should be civility and respect for one another as human beings,” said Jerome Bowers, CEO of One Common Cause Community Control Initiative.

Prior to these rallies and marches, a counterprotest was held at the State House where protesters say their goal was to voice their Second Amendment rights and condemn violence across the nation.

“We are a diverse nation. We all work together. We’re not here to give one specific race special rights. The problem is, there are people in this nation, of whatever race, that are where they’re at because they worked for it. They’ve earned it, not expecting someone to pay for it for them. And that is the problem with this organization called Black Lives Matter,” said South Carolina Patriot ‘Nekkid Cowboy.’

One Republic Militia leader Jon Truett sent the following statement to ABC Columbia:

“We would like to thank everyone that turned out today on both sides, law enforcement and Columbia City officials. One Republic militia, South Carolina Patriots, and the organizations that were involved today felt good about the possibility of sitting down with Black Lives Matter to talk about peace throughout our state. We believe that this was a great day for South Carolina. Hopefully, We the people of South Carolina can lead the way for peace throughout our great Nation. God Bless America!!”

There will be more protests and marches held in Columbia on Saturday.

Categories: Local News, News, State