About 1,000 people joined a mile-long march in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” as US president Donald Trump announced plans to visit the violence-rocked city next week.
Jacob Blake Sr., father of the 29-year-old Black man whose shooting by a white police officer on Sunday sparked the unrest, called on protesters to refrain from looting and vandalism, which had overshadowed peaceful protests before a tense calm set in the past three nights.
“Good people of this city understand. If we tear it up we have nothing,” he told a gathering at a park that was the hub of protests in support of his son, Jacob Blake Jr. “Stop it. Show ’em for one night we don’t have to tear up nothing.”
The shooting of Blake, in front of three of his children, turned the mostly white city of 100,000 people south of Milwaukee into the latest flashpoint in a summer of US-wide demonstrations against police brutality and racism.
Trump, who has taken a hardline stance against the protests, will visit Kenosha on Tuesday to meet law enforcement officials and assess damage, a White House official told reporters.
“The thing I’d like to tell Mr. President is that Black Lives Matter members are not the thugs, not the looters,” said Clyde McLemore, founder of a BLM chapter just outside of Kenosha. “He’s blaming us, and that’s not the way it is.”