HAUGHTON, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Peaceful protesters lead a Black Lives Matter march in Haughton Saturday morning with aid from Haughton police, but some residents weren’t happy about protests reaching the parish.
They were marching in solidarity with the millions of other protests happening globally. Protesters gathered at First Baptist Church of Haughton and ended the march at Haughton Town Hall with a demonstration for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd.
“We just want it to be an eye opener. We want it to be something that will start change,” said organizer, Lomia Watkins, “That will start people to see what we feel and we want them to just hear us and hopefully in the future they’ll start to understand us better.”
They offered posters for those who needed them, and prayed before being escorted by Haughton police. Lauren Brooks was also an organizer, who called out names throughout the march of those affected by police brutality.
“I know that some people in the community don’t feel that racism is a thing in Haughton, but for people who are not of minorities you don’t really see those injustices towards you,” said Brooks.
She commended Haughton police for their work in the community, and says their list of demands are wishes for more Black people to hold positions of power in Haughton.
“I’m prepared for it to cause some division, because it’s never happened before. It’s something new. We don’t speak much about it around here out loud.”
There were comments on Facebook from those who felt protests don’t need to be brought to Haughton. Some people online even threatened to shoot protesters, but only in response to the nationwide rioting where local businesses have been affected.
Along the march, a few Haughton neighbors stared in disdain at the protest. Some neighbors with Trump 2020 displays in their yard came out to record and take photographs. Only one woman came out of her home to counter-protest chanting, “I support police.”
She told protesters that black people kill each other often, and accused them of coming against officers defending themselves. One protester had a sign that read, “How can you love God, but hate me?” and she asks them how can they love God but try to get rid of everything He stands for and that the country was built upon.
“But hopefully as time goes on it will get better and people will just start to realize it’s not for us to divide, it’s for us to come together,” said Watkins.