I am scheduled to work on Wednesday from 3:30 till Midnight so as I write this I have no idea how things went in the 1st of two Fitchburg “protests”.
Wednesday’s protest is sponsored by 3 pyramids a local black organization and is scheduled to be a march from Crocker Field to the City Hall (I presume the temporary city hall as the regular one is under re-construction) and is supposed to begin at 2:30 which is just about the time that I will be finishing getting ready for work.
I took a drive, both to pay the water bills but actually to scope out the route. Externally things seem to be OK there is a city crew watering the common and clearing a monument, people are at Market Basket there is some traffic but thanks to the covid stuff the streets are pretty empty. I’m informed by DaWife that the local Dunkin Donuts has closed it’s lobby at noon but other than that I’m not aware of any other business closing although as you can see by the picture Enterprise Rent-a-Car has boarded up their windows (but oddly not moved their cars to a different location. While on social media there is at least one report of bricks hidden under some debris I scoped the potential path and didn’t see this, and I was looking for it.
Local business that would be in the path of any crowd that got out of hand that I talked to are worried but see little they can do about it. At one business an employee was instructed to close up & get out if there are sirens indicating trouble to close and leave. They seemed resigned that what will happen will happen, but people are on edge.
These are the days I miss the World War 2 generation and the Sicilians that once lived in the patch.
It’s very possible (even probable for Wednesday’s protest) that there will be little or not trouble but the potential is there, fed by the media and the desire to turn a local crime in Minnesota into a national story for the sake of scoring election points.
Here is the video I shot, sorry about the quality as I was walking with no monopod.
Again I am writing this at 12:52 PM EST on Wednesday. By the time this posts we will know if Fitchburg had a protest or a riot or both on Wednesday but the results of Friday will still be up in the air. But this description of previous protests from the Sentinal & Enterprise tell me that whatever happens will be spun to death:
On Sunday, peaceful protests were carried out in Boston throughout the day until the demonstrations turned violent in the evening, with reports of fires being set and looting.
Boston police later released a list of the 53 people who were arrested after the violence began.
In Worcester on Monday, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully during the day to protest Floyd’s killing. However, things took a downward turn at night when some demonstrators threw rocks and police in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
God willing we’ll have good news.
Update: Got out of work at midnight it was a 20 minute drive back to Fitchburg and I checked out the area, I saw no signs of damage so I presume everything was peaceful or at least under control.
When I left for work I made it a point to drive toward downtown. There was a chopper hovering over the center of the city. Not sure if that was the authorities or the media.
Espresso’s pizza whose manager I interviewed a bit ago during my american success story series which was directly in the line of march of the protest as scheduled was simply plastered with Black Lives Matters signs all over the place. I don’t know if this was cheap insurance or not but the windows were all whole. Perhaps next time I order I’ll ask if my life and my family’s lives matters to them and will decide if I order then again based on their answer.
There was a solid police presence both on main street. Cruisers seems to be strategically placed to keep an eye on key spots from the policeman’s monument to key intersections. I saw car in the parking lot of the temporary city hall in a line that would block access to anyone attempting to drive by. There were a group of men in the lot, I presume officers. I presume they will be there for a while till the morning.
I saw very few people on the streets, when I stopped at Espresso to read the signs one person walking by seemed almost smug bragging about Fitchburg because there was no trouble. I pointed out that the Tea Party had held events on main street and protests and prayers had been in front of the planned parenthood that moved into town and no businesses had worried about violence or felt the need to close. But as violence & rioting (frankly there’s not much worth looting here) to my city was a worry I don’t mind grading them on a curve for the day. I also noted a few people in odd places who seemed to be watching things. Not sure who or what they were and frankly after a late night at work didn’t feel like checking
As I headed home from downtown I noted that Domino’s which is usually open till 2 AM was closed. I turned around to check out way and saw a sign on the door saying: “We are closed so our employees can support black lives matter.” Again I don’t know if this is their feeling or if it’s insurance but I’ll be sure to ask if my life and my family’s life matter next time I order.
When I got home I was told things were quiet but was also told that the National Guard was in town deployed at the Civic Center for a time but I’ve found no evidence of it online of course I’m not on facebook so I don’t know if there is some info there.
When it comes down to it, the bottom line is no trouble at least not yet. Hopefully the weekend with be the same, if it is I’ll be pleased but I still resent the fact that I had to worry about my city , my friends, my property and my family because the MSM decided to elevate a local story to play politics.