A peaceful protest in response to the recent police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black Americans is planned for 6:30 p.m. tonight along Main Streets in Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue.
Organized by The Alliance of Idaho, the demonstration is intended to campaign "against systemic racism in solidarity with protests happening around the country," according to Alliance co-founder Sarah Sentilles.
Attendees are advised to wear masks and keep six feet apart, the Alliance stated.
At 6:45 p.m., participants will kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds—the length of time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck on May 25, killing him.
According to Patty Tobin, co-founder of the Alliance, the protest was planned yesterday morning, after several friends gathered to talk about the brutal video showing the death of Floyd. Because of her affiliation with the Alliance, Tobin offered to help organize tonight’s protest after one friend wanted to do something, “reverential.”
By Monday afternoon, the protest planning had taken on other aspects, as text messages were shared publicly and on social media.
“It kind of began to become its own thing,” Tobin said.
Regardless, Tobin hopes the focus on tonight’s demonstration is peace and community support. In addition, the structure of the protest will allow for social distancing and for residents to stay in their own communities for the most part. Organizers also encourage everyone to wear a mask, disperse on sidewalks and be cognizant of the current pandemic.
“I want this to be supportive,” Tobin said.
Hailey Police Chief Steve England said in a Monday Facebook post that officers will be present during tonight’s demonstration to ensure peace. The city will be patrolled not as a “show of authority,” he said, “but as a sign of protection—protection of our city’s residents and visitors, its businesses, its overall infrastructure and most importantly, the safety of those peacefully protesting.”
England said his department is “confident” that protesters will assemble peacefully.
“HPD is looking forward to partnering with those attending this…by keeping the peace and giving you peace of mind that we have your back during these difficult times,” he said.