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"Black Lives Matter" Supporters In Spokane Protest Again On Sunday

Natalie Newcomb

For the seventh day in a row hundreds of people gathered in downtown Spokane in the name of George Floyd and others who were killed by police officers.

Firefighters joined the protest, holding signs, with the hashtag “Spokane firefighters."

Protesters gathered in front of Riverfront Park downtown, chanting while street musicians played and children danced.

Spokane Fire Lieutenant Scott Coldiron joined the protest with a sign reading “Firefighters Stand With You.”

“We are your local fire department. Most of us work in this district downtown. We're servants of the citizens. That's why we're here to show support," Coldiron said.

About 15 of his colleagues joined him, but wanted to remain anonymous because they feared retaliation.

Coldiron says his union is trying to help reduce obstacles to become a firefighter, with measures such as eliminating the financial requirements needed to become an EMT. He said he wants the force to look and represent the community he serves.

“I think it's important for those little kids to see black firefighters, Asian firefighters, Native American, Latino. We should be representing all of that and it's predominantly white males," he said.



Credit Natalie Newcomb
At least one person came to Sunday's protest armed with the intent, they say, of protecting the people who were there.

One man with his family came with a long gun. He didn’t want to speak with a reporter, but an in-law who identified herself as Sydney Santiago explained it is for protection. Santiago says she and her family support the peaceful “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Protesters who disapproved of the gun chanted for him to go home. And that led to a discussion between them and Santiago.

Santiago said she wishes protesters would come to talk to her first before screaming messages of hate.

One of them, Arica O’Dell, said it’s hard to understand the intentions of the people carrying weapons.

“Can you understand how seeing how someone show up at an event like this with that kind of gun and the weaponry and the bullets. Is that necessary?"”O'Dell said.

Santiago explains she will continue to come to protests, even though she feels annoyed that she has to justify why she’s here with a sign.

“I don't feel bad or that anything we did was wrong so we will keep coming," Santiago said.

The protest remained peaceful as spilled out beyond the park. Cars honked and people inside hold fists up in support.