What happens when protests turn to riots


Audrey Fick-Furlotte

Downtown Pleasanton businesses boarded up fearing violence and looting, but on June 6, 2020 the protesters gathered to shout their message in peace.

Renna Popli, Sr. Staff Writer

In response to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, protests have turned to riots, and riots have sparked retaliation. Some of that retaliation has come from the protestors themselves. 

“As a white person, I don’t think it’s my place to condemn how black people are protesting because it is their pain that we’re fighting against. However, I do think that looting and using violence invalidates the movement, as it gives people a reason to see Black Lives Matter as a violent cause,” says Holly Fletcher (‘22). 

When peaceful protests turn not-so-peaceful, they hurt people and ruin the credibility of the movement they’re standing with, not to mention they give others an excuse to respond with violence and aggression.

Recently, at a restaurant in Philadelphia, Black Lives Matter protesters crowded around and yelled at diners to raise their fists. In another city, protestors were filmed throwing chairs through a restaurant window and harassing outside diners.  

These instances have led some people to worry that any protest is going to lead to problems.

“The looting at protests is not justified as people looting are taking advantage of the serious issue at hand to break the laws,” says Terrence Moore (‘23). 

Before I write more, I feel it’s important for me to mention that I am a Black Lives Matter supporter. Part of me feels the anger is justified, but then I remember who this anger ends up hurting. Many black-owned businesses are suffering the consequences of riots, and the government still isn’t listening. 

Every night news reports show stories of the “bad apples” in the U.S. police system which is one of the

In June 2020, Amador students joined the BLM Pleasanton protest to demand change in this country. (Sonali Carumbaya)

reasons why people think that the U.S. police system is corrupt. This is why people need to protest. Changes need to be made in this country and they need to be made now.

But the truth still stands that violence is never the answer, and it doesn’t prompt changes in legislation or even justice in court. The police who killed Breonna Taylor and Elijah Mcclain are still walking free. So are the police who shot Jacob Blake.  

To make matters worse, far-right “activists” have decided it’s time to bring an end to the looting and rioting. They’re retaliating with the even more force the BLM protestors are and the violence is getting worse. 

“Retaliation is not justified because [the far right] weren’t the ones who had to deal with police brutality, so they don’t have a fair say in what the protests should amount to,” says Moore.

Peaceful protests work. We saw this with Ghandi and MLK, and we could see it today, if aggressive and rowdy protesters would just act with more thought. 

Anger is understandable. It’s impossible to watch brothers and sisters getting killed and not feel blood-boiling rage that feels like it would be eased by destruction. The problem is that it doesn’t work.

When things get destroyed and people get hurt, people stop listening to your cause. Protesting is our constitutional right. We must practice this right to force change in our country, but turning our protests into destructive riots doesn’t help the cause and it doesn’t bring back the people we’ve lost.

Due the COVID restrictions, some people chose to protest from their cars.
In June of 2020, Amador students practiced their constitutional right by protesting and demanding change. (Sonali Carumbaya)