At 4 p.m. a group of protestors who looked to be high school and college age met to hold signs in front of the Porterville Memorial Auditorium.

Shortly after 4 p.m. about 30 protestors converged in front of the auditorium. The signs had such messages as “All lives Can't Matter Until Black Lives Matter” and “There Comes A time When Silence is Betrayal.”

One protestor carried a sign in support of Trans and Black Lives and was also carrying a small rainbow flag.

Such chants were coming from the protestors as “I Can't Breathe” in reference to the words spoken by George Floyd before he died after police officer Derek Chauvin placed a knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin has now been charged with second degree murder.

Other chants from the protestors included “Two, Four Six, Eight, Stop the Violence, Stop the Hate.” Some drivers in their vehicles honked their horns in support as they drove by.

Meanwhile pickup trucks with American Flags were parked along Main Street in front of Country Pleasures and other businesses.

Country Pleasures owner Pam Hughes said the trucks were there as part of protection for the businesses. She also said the Porterville Police Department were prepared for whatever could happen. She said Porterville Police were constantly driving up and down Main Street in front of her business. “They're ready,” she said.

“We're just here watching the store making sure nothing happens to it,” Hughes said. “We don't want them burning up our downtown like other places. We're just protecting our storefronts.”

Hughes said she did believe Porterville Police could maintain control. “I have faith in the police department to protect our businesses,” she said.

“We're not here for a fight or any confrontation. It doesn't hurt for us to sit in front of our stores.”

Hughes said precautions are being taken just in case because of what's being posted on social media on what could happen. “You don't know what's rumor and what's not,” she said.

In the neighboring city of Lindsay, a group of just over 20 protesters gathered shortly after 5 p.m. For an entire hour, the group took a silent knee in front of City Hall. Some were holding signs that read “No lives matter until Black Lives Matter” and “Color is not a crime.”

Although the group of protesters remained silent, cars passing by honked, shouted support out of their windows or raised the fists in support of the protesters movement. Lindsay's Police Chief Christopher Hughes and Vice Mayor Laura Cortes came out to join the group and show their support.

“I think it's important for people to protest because it conveys a message of concern, and not only concern but also that they want something to change,” said Vice Mayor Cortes. “So, I think that it's an important right that we exercise that sometimes. When you have the numbers that when changes comes.”

The protest's organizer, Lindsay resident Eduardo Delgado, was in the front line of the protest holding signs he created about his own negative experiences with police officers.

“Martin Luther King and all of those other activists that we have had in the past have had so many threats, many more than what we've heard,” said Delgado. “They still pursued it and fought for what they believed was right, and that's what we're here doing. We live in this small town and we are out here trying to get our word out, trying to get our message across. We just all want equal rights, and Black Lives Matter all day. It's not fair what they're doing out there every day. The system is corrupt and it needs to change. I thank everyone for being out here, it takes a lot to fight for what you believe in. We're out here trying to make a difference. We have got to get our word across.”

 

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