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Police chief: Protesting is a right, not violence

Posted by on Nov. 11, 2016 at 5:49 PM
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I went to this protest for a bit today.  With DH's health and the need to be home for DD after school I didn't get to stay as long as I wanted and only caught the beginning of the protests before I had to go home.  I am proud of these people and my state.  They understand what protesting is about.  

Several hundred people gathered Friday afternoon in Burlington to demonstrate their displeasure with the outcome of Tuesday's presidential election.

The noon-to-4 p.m. rally was the first of two demonstrations planned for Friday in the park behind Burlington's City Hall.

One speaker after the next climbed the steps of City Hall and took their turn at the megaphone. The speakers expressed anger and fear related to what Donald Trump's election means for the country.

The rallies were announced on Facebook as separate events; the first being "Love Trumps Hate RALLY" and then "Burlington Community Vigil: Sharing love, strength, and peace" from 7-8 p.m. Almost 1,000 people responded on Facebook, as of 12:45 p.m. Friday, that they planned to attend the noon rally. The later vigil had more than 350 people marked as attending.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said Friday afternoon he expected the protests to be peaceful.

"My experience is with Vermont activism is that it’s overwhelming peaceful no matter how strong the feelings are," del Pozo said.

He said his department has been in communication with organizers and police would monitor the rallies.

"Vandalism and violence in the wake of a democratic election is shameful," del Pozo said.

Post-election protests have been over the past few days in major cities. On Thursday night an anarchist group in Portland, Oregon, smashed windows and started a dumpster fire, according to are report by USA Today. Police countered with pepper spray and flash-bang devices.

"People have legitimate concern is about their president elect but that would never make violence and destruction appropriate," del Pozo said.

He said the residents of Burlington, the city where Bernie Sanders' got his political start, have a role to play in demonstrating civil disagreement.

Earlier in the day, del Pozo wrote a post on Facebook addressing the fact that the rallies are being held on Veterans Day.

When asked for further comment by the Free Press, del Pozo wrote "The right to protest is one of the things that makes America great and a protest on Veteran's Day is especially poignant because it honors a right that countless everyday Americans secured for us with their service and sacrifice."

In reply to a comment on his Facebook post expressing concern about possible violence at the noon event, del Pozo wrote, "Violence, we will not tolerate. That is not protest."

This story was first posted on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.

Contributing: Emilie Stigliani

Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or ddambrosio@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanDambrosioVT. 

by on Nov. 11, 2016 at 5:49 PM
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