The gathering in front of the Schuylkill Courthouse in Pottsville remained peaceful on Sunday.
About the most raucous happening at what was called the Freedom to Breathe protest on Sunday was a vehicle that drove past a Pottsville Police cruiser a few times blaring NWA’s “Fuck the Police” through their stereo.
Real ballsy, bruh.
Freedom to Breathe Protest in Pottsville Remains Peaceful
Other than that, the only thing we witnessed that was anything close to out of bounds was a jacked-up pickup truck that spun its tires and left the 75 or so protestors in a cloud of thick, dark burnout smoke for about 5 seconds.
Protestors gathered in front of the courthouse Sunday to protest the killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
Floyd’s death was captured on a viral social media video when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee onto his neck for about 9 minutes while onlookers pleaded for him to let up.
That incident has touched off nationwide protests that ranged from civil, like the one in Pottsville on Sunday, to the grotesque. That includes riots in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, King of Prussia, and Harrisburg which prompted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to declare states of emergency in 3 different municipalities.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen on Sunday in Pottsville.
As noted, about 75 people gathered on one side of Laurel Boulevard in front of the county courthouse.
Across the street, another dozen or so people observed. Every few minutes, vehicles would pass by honking their horns or revving engines causing the group to cheer.
Outside of that, the crowd gathered and repeated often heard Black Lives Matter chants.
They yelled, “Black lives matter!” And then broke into “I can’t breathe!”
And, of course, the classic, “No justice; no peace!”
For the balance of the 2 hours we stayed at the protest, the crowd stood in the middle of the steep grade on Laurel Boulevard, right across from the Humane Fire Co. on Third Street.
The protest group mobilized twice.
One time, the crowd marched up Laurel Boulevard toward Sanderson St., looping the courthouse before returning to their original protest location.
In another instance, the group moved toward downtown Pottsville.
They marched down onto Centre Street before winding their way up West Market Street and then Third St. before once again resuming their location in front of the seat of county government.
A light, barely noticeable police presence was on hand and cautiously followed behind the crowd. Pottsville PD was assisted on the scene by some members of the Schuylkill County Sheriff’s Dept.
At no time did police exit their vehicles. Some members of the Sheriffs’s Dept. observed the crowd from high above the protest location by the front entrance to the courthouse.