Organizers say there will be no march before raising first-responders flag in Bristol

By Scott Pickering
Posted 7/2/20

The group that will be raising a first-responders flag over Independence Park in Bristol on Friday morning will not be marching or holding a rally.  Though their initial plan, as announced last …

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Organizers say there will be no march before raising first-responders flag in Bristol

Posted

The group that will be raising a first-responders flag over Independence Park in Bristol on Friday morning will not be marching or holding a rally.  Though their initial plan, as announced last week, was to march south on Hope Street until they reached Independence Park along the Bristol waterfront, the group now does not plan to walk or march to the park.

They are planning to gather at 9:30 a.m. at the park, and they are encouraging people to bring patriotic flags or other flags that specifically support first-responders. They plan to hold a short ceremony and raise the first-responders flag at 10 a.m. There will be a few remarks after the flag-raising.

The flag-raising was approved by a 4-1 vote of the Bristol Town Council Wednesday night, following a long public comment period with many people speaking both for and against the action. Some have criticized the effort as a thinly veiled attempt to undermine a Black Lives Matter march that took place along that same route and in that same park several weeks ago — as well as undermine a similarly controversial Black Lives Matter flag-raising above Bristol Town Hall in the month of June.

Organizers avoided that topic during Wednesday night's meeting, repeatedly focusing their comments on this being an ideal time to honor first-responders like nurses, EMTs, rescue workers and doctors, who have been battled the Covid-19 pandemic for most of 2020. Critics repeatedly did the opposite — praising first-responders but calling the timing of the effort divisive and perhaps racist.

The 'Citizens' say overflow parking for those planning to attend Friday's event is available at the VFW Post 237 parking lot at 850 Hope St.

In their statement, they say "the BCCC is a group of local citizens seeking to promote traditional American and Bristol family values. The group is aligned with no specific political party and is open to Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents."

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.