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Peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest Comes To Riverbank
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A group of protesters and their families gather across Third Street from Riverbank Police Services on Saturday morning, June 6. They assembled prior to taking a short march on the sidewalks of several blocks around downtown. Like many similar events across the country, this one emphasized the ‘Black Lives Matter’ theme, remaining peaceful through the whole event. Ric McGinnis/The News

A small group of demonstrators gathered Saturday, June 6 in Riverbank, assembling near the Police Services building before marching peacefully around several downtown blocks, ultimately dispersing where they started.

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ issue brought 10 to 12 adults and a few of their younger family members to Third Street, in the heart of downtown Riverbank, where they gathered, directly across the street from the Riverbank Police Services building.

Beginning at about 11 a.m., the group slowly grew, as they stood in front of the former appliance store at the corner of Third and Topeka streets. About 12:15 p.m. or so, they marched north on Third up to Atchison/Highway 108.

There, they turned east, up to Fourth Street, where they turned again toward downtown. Then they traveled to Santa Fe, where they turned back toward City Hall and Third Street, ultimately returning to their starting point by about 12:45 p.m.

They marched with their signs, pushing strollers or wagons, or carrying youngsters, remaining peaceful the whole time.

Ahead of the event, city officials and some downtown business owners had learned by social media about the planned protest, taking measures to protect their property.

City Manager Sean Scully said that he was acting “out of an abundance of caution,” just in case it was necessary to protect the city hall buildings. When demonstrators arrived, they found city offices and the Police Services facility boarded up. Also, there was a chain link fence across the alley between City Hall North and the Police building, with a car parked there, as well.

On other streets in the downtown, some store fronts were boarded up as well.

Similar protests were staged over the weekend in the neighboring towns of Ripon and Escalon, with some buildings in those locations also boarded up as a precautionary measure.

There were no reports of problems with any of those peaceful protests.

The Riverbank Police Services facility on Third Street is boarded up during a peaceful demonstration held across the street at midday on Saturday. Both city hall buildings and a few other downtown businesses were also boarded up but no disturbances were seen that day. Demonstrators marched peacefully around several square blocks, returning to Topeka and Third streets before disbanding. Ric McGinnis/The News