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Protesters gather in Northwest Bakersfield on day 8 of demonstrations

Posted at 9:57 AM, Jun 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 12:57:55-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Friday night saw large numbers of protesters turn out to Northwest Bakersfield for the first time since protests began over the killing of George Floyd.

It started at about 6 p.m. on the corner of Calloway Drive and Hageman Road in Northwest Bakersfield. Both groups showing up and occupying the sidewalks on different sides of the road. On one side, many community members vocally supporting President Trump advocating for community safety and police officers.

“I don’t agree with the message that black lives matter, I believe that all lives matter and people are going to use the example of oh if one of your kids got stung by a bee, you’re only gonna help them and no, I'm gonna help all people that need it," said Sammy Wells, who is involved with the Centennial High School Republican Student Club.

On the other side, a group of Black Lives Matter supporters holding up signs and chanting the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Local resident Reginald Gardner, a BLM supporter, said he doesn't want to politicize the movement, and they were out there for a peaceful demonstration.

“I have a house here, I pay taxes for things just like they do, it's not a political thing, we wanna wake people up for what's going on within our police department, we’re not trying to attack them or fight them or anything, this is a peaceful protest," he said.

Authorities kept a watchful eye on the demonstrations via helicopter, as a group marched south on Calloway toward Rosedale Highway. Police say the scene on Calloway and Hageman remained peaceful for several hours, but at one point around 10 p.m., when BPD told the demonstrators to disperse.

The department saying in a statement that tensions were appearing to rise between the two groups, and protestors from both sides began to move into the roadway to confront each other. Police say a smoke bomb was thrown from one side of the protesters that they labeled “counter protesters” to the Black Lives Matter protesters. But they say both groups were dispersed without further incident.

There were also demonstrations in Downtown Bakersfield Friday night. Police said some marching protesters obstructed downtown traffic for a short period, but that demonstration ended peacefully.

No arrests were made during any protests Friday night.