A “Back the Blue Rally” is being planned for September 5 in Southampton Village to show “much needed support for all police and law enforcement agencies, as well as our Armed Forces,” according to a flyer for the event.
Protests in places like Portland, Seattle and Chicago have devolved into rioting and violence against police, whose response to demonstrations against police misconduct were largely criticized. There have been several protests against police brutality on the East End following the death of George Floyd in May, many in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This is long overdue and needs to be addressed immediately. Without all of these brave and heroic men and women that keep our communities safe and defend our freedom day in and day out without hesitation, it is time to say thank you!,” the organizers wrote.
Those showing their support for police will gather at Agawam Park at 11 a.m. The rally will begin with a brief introduction, followed by a blessing. The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited and the National Anthem sung.
The group will then march down Windmill Lane, where it will turn right on Jagger Lane, and turn on Main Street, before going down Jobs Lane and wind up back at Agawam Park.
Participants are asked to wear a blue or patriotic shirt to show support, as well as bring flags or banners.
The organizer, a retired member of law enforcement who declined to provide his name by phone on Thursday, said the rally has been in the works for the past five to six weeks, in response to the anti-police sentiment. “We were hoping we weren’t going to have to do this, that things were going to settle down,” he said, but it has not.
While he said he does not think there is as much widespread hate for police here on the South Fork, he said it is still important that they make their voices heard.
The purpose, he said, is “Basically to say we don’t want to be a Portland, Oregon. We don’t want to be a Seattle. We don’t want Southampton Village burning down. We don’t want Hampton Bays burning down.”
He stressed that “We don’t want a divided world, we want a united world.”