CASPER, Wyo. — Participants in a small demonstration, of mostly young people, say that the protest happened peacefully- as they had wanted.
A small group of approximately two dozen teenagers took to the streets of Downtown Casper and David Street Station, wearing COVID-19 masks and carrying signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Black Lives Matter” chanted the group at one point, alternately chanting “No Justice, No Peace.”
Article continues below...
Davui Thompson, who organized the impromptu march around downtown, says that the purpose was to give a voice to those who aren’t heard, and to encourage people to be themselves and to use their voice. Thompson said that the event was made to encompass several marginalized communities.
“There has been far more support than hate,” Thompson said, describing passing motorists showing support by honking horns and holding fists out automobile windows.
This was Thompson’s third act of peaceful protest in the last two days, but the first time that it was not a single-person affair. Thompson also protested downtown near the steps of the US Federal Courthouse.
As the event concluded with a small gathering at David Street Station, Casper Youth For Change member Tanner Ewalt addressed the crowd asking them to prepare for another event tomorrow, that Casper Youth For Change helped to organize. Ewalt asked demonstrators who would also be participating to stay hydrated, to remain peaceful, and to disband and disperse if there is any violence or an emergency.
“Look at what happened today, we never got violent.” Ewalt told Oil City after the event. “Tomorrow, Casper Youth for Change has asked people participating in the protest to go to local businesses that are open, to buy from them. Do a buy-in and support our local economy during the impacts of coronavirus.”
Ewalt stresses that Wednesday’s march was community organized and was not put together by anybody out of town.
“We are here for the community. We aren’t from out of state, we aren’t from out of town,” Ewalt said. “These are the sons and the daughters of Casper saying ‘enough is enough.'”
The Casper Youth For Change group is a collective of Casper teenagers, most of them recently graduated. Ewalt said they are not paid protestors, and don’t have the money to pay anyone else.
“Some of us graduated a week ago, into a world wrought with global pandemics and racial injustice,” Ewalt added.
Reception to the march was not entirely positive. Witnesses report drivers revving engines and plumes of exhaust being sent towards protestors. Other witnesses claimed a work truck tried to drive it’s way through the march, but was stopped shortly thereafter by Casper Police.
The march is one of many across the country that have sprung up in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer. Protests have occurred across the country.
An autopsy conducted on behalf of Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, kneeled on his neck and back for several minutes, according to the Associated Press.