Last Friday, Mary Fahnestock-Thomas sent out an email message inviting people to join her on Saturday at the intersection of First Street (Highway 93) and Marcus Street in downtown Hamilton. She said she was going to grab her George Floyd sign and go stand on the corner to show support for protests going on around the country in response to George Floyd’s death.
“Today would have been Breonna Taylor’s [another victim of a police violence] birthday,” she wrote.
On Saturday, a small handful of people could be seen standing on the corner of Marcus and 1st with their signs: End Systemic Racism “I can’t breathe.”
These were the early birds.
The next day over 200 people showed up with signs and masks in response to a call put out by Corvallis High School senior Frances Carrasco and some of her friends.
It was a peaceful demonstration with some chanting, but mostly waves and thumbs up and some horn honking as people driving by acknowledged the protesters.
One minor incident was reported involving a man who came through shouting “white lives matter.” According to KECI TV reporter Kevin Maki, the man shouted at the protesters that “every demonstration ends up in violence because the violent people come there to use it for their gain.”
According to Hamilton City Police Chief Ryan Oster, the man was getting into people’s faces and creating a disturbance. He said an officer was able to get him to calm down and no arrest was made. The individual was issued a warning for Disorderly Conduct.
“Other than that we had no trouble at all at the event,” he said. “It was very peaceful.”