A candlelight vigil in memory of George Floyd and lives lost to police brutality is set for Friday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Manteca Civic Center complex, 1001 W. Center St., housing city offices and the police department.
Then on Saturday there is a rally supporting Black Lives Matter set for 11 a.m. at Mistlin Sports Park on River Road in Ripon. The event is dubbed as “Rallying for Peace with Peace.”
It had originally been planned for Ripon’s downtown along Main Street. Organizers, in working with Ripon Police, opted to move it to the park where it would be less disruptive to traffic and downtown businesses.
Indivisible Manteca along with area Black Live Matters groups rallied and posted Black Lives Matter signs Wednesday on the pedestrian bridge crossing over Highway 99 in Ripon.
Friday’s event at the Manteca Civic Center is dubbed as the #CentralValleyUnited candlelight vigil. Participants are being asked to practice social distancing and to wear face masks.
Organizers note, “community members across California’s Central Valley are hosting candlelight vigils (concurrently) to unite the community around police brutality, using it as a mechanism to ask for systemic change in local policing and combating racism in our community. We will be having a moment of silence for 8 hours and 46 seconds in respect and in memory of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives to police brutality.”
The Manteca Civic Center gathering follows the Black Lives Matter rally and march that attracted 400 plus participants to Sequoia Park on Tuesday.
Wednesday a Black Lives Matter rally took place at Oakdale’s downtown plaza in front of the Gene Bianchi Community Center while another group gathered across the street. One group chanted “George Floyd” and “Black Lives Matter” while the other chanted “Trump 2020” and “All Lives Matter.”
The event was peaceful until about 2:30 p.m. when an individual in a Mustang convertible driving by threw an object at the protestors that had been yelling “Trump 2020” and “All Lives Matter.” Law enforcement indicated a protestor then punched someone in the vehicle. As the fighting broke out, police on foot and on horseback moved in. Officers fired flash bangs and rubber bullets that prompted the crowd to start running and dispersing.
One protestor was struck and was seen bleeding on the ground.
The incident prompted authorities to declare an emergency throughout Stanislaus County out of concern protestors could regroup elsewhere.
Manteca Police for the third night in a row Wednesday blocked off downtown streets until 7 a.m. today. There were no known threats reported. The closure was out of an “abundance of caution” given how in other cities were there have been rallies or those taking place in nearby communities malcontents have used protests as cover to vandalize and loot businesses.
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