HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As Huntsville high school graduates emerged from their ceremony at the VBC, many got a unique breath of freedom. Black Lives Matter protesters, counter-protesters, and faith leaders running a repentance event were on fully display only yards away.
“It was a great indication of how badly we need this city healed,” said Pastor Curtis Henderson.
His repentance event had a permit. BLM and counter protesters did not.
The groups at times came toe-to-toe. Some people wore masks and others did not. No arrests were made.
“This is a marathon. I don’t know about you, but I’m in it to win it,” said one BLM protester.
BLM protesters and counter protesters did have a few tense moments. One BLM protester was hearing a counter protester out. The counter protester did not have a mask on and several BLM protesters tried to pull their fellow protester away his safety.
“He (former officers in Minneapolis) has to go through the court system. Allow the system to happen! I’m for the death penalty. People who commit murder should be put to death,” said the counter protesters.
The BLM protester offered to get a beer with the counter protester.
Mayor Tommy Battle was on stage during the repentance event. He had an elevated view of all the movements between groups.
“Everybody is out for the same thing. They are out for a greater community. For a better community. How do we pull everybody together? It’s not going to be me. It’ll be a power much bigger that me,” said Mayor Battle.
As pastor after pastor spoke through all the noise surrounding them, Mayor Battle did address the smaller repentance crowd. Admitting, he wasn’t feeling too confident about coming out initially.
“I said, Pastor Henderson! I’m a mayor. I probably have more repentance to do than anybody.” said Mayor Battle with a laugh.
Abortion protesters and an unidentified religious group blocked local faith leaders during their service when BLM protesters left to march. Police asked the counter-protesters to move several times as the repentance group had an actual permit.