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Black Lives Matter Protest at Tulsa City Hall

Tulsa city officials of past and present describe the scene as Black Lives Matter protesters are met by armed militia groups, echoing the same dynamic that led to the massacre in 1921.

AIRED: 5/31/2021 | 00:02:32
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- [Crowd] Black Lives Matter!

- [Narrator] The Black Lives Matter protestors marched downtown to city hall where a Blue Lives Matter march, in support of police, was also underway.

- [Protestor] We are sending a message to the city of Tulsa to the city councilors and to the mayor who erased 'Black Lives Matter' from Black Wall Street.

- [Crowd] Black Lives Matter!

- [Protestor] That is why we are here.

We support our police officers.

- [Man] That's not true.

- [Protestor] We already show them we (beep) back the blue.

What we are against is white supremacy.

- [Narrator] The protest also attracted numerous armed militia members.

The opposing sides converged at city hall.

- [Drew Diamond] When you see self-proclaimed militia people in their fake military camo, and those things show up, this is not about an intellectual discussion between the second amendment and the first amendment.

This is about a bunch of guys who are, at their core, see black and brown and white people coming together to talk about justice.

And they don't like it.

- [Vanessa Hall-Harper] I started getting calls and text messages from some of my constituents basically saying that there were militia men downtown surrounding them with AK-47's, you know, automatic weapons in military gear.

And so at that point I made a beeline and headed straight down to the, this location to see what was going on.

The militia represented the exact same mob that was represented in 1921 when the massacre took place.

And we saw that play out, once again, in 2020 as we approach the Centennial of the massacre.

It's every type of racism that you can think of, systemic, institutional, blatant, in your face.

It is typical of Tulsa.

It is what I call the spirit of Tulsa.

- The folks that showed up with those firearms at the protest were not requested to be there by anyone.

I've heard that they said that they were there to support the police department.

Our police department doesn't need their help.

It's unfortunate that there is a group that is more interested in testing their second amendment rights than understanding the realities of the racial dynamics that we're trying to work through as a community right now.