Rally at Montana Capitol calls for support of human rights

Rally at Montana Capitol calls for support of human rights

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Human Rights Rally

About 100 peaceful protesters gathered at the Montana State Capitol on Sunday for the Human Rights Rally. The event ended with a symbolic "die-in," with socially distanced protesters spread across the Capitol lawn. 

Nearly 100 people staged a human rights rally at the Montana Capitol on Sunday afternoon.

The group, which varied widely in age, marched around the building and chanted the names of two individuals whose deaths at the hands of police have sparked myriad protests across the country, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Along with the chants and marching, the group held a nine-minute period of silence to mark the amount of time former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck. The rally ended with a five-minute "die-in" where protesters laid on the ground in silence.

"There are people in America who do not have their human rights," rally organizer Teddy Jumpp said in an interview. "This is comparatively smaller than some of the other protests, but I want people to see this."

The protest remained peaceful as has been the case with recent protests at the Capitol, and more than a dozen participants in safety vests served as a "de-escalation team." The leader of the de-escalation team declined to comment.

About 10 counterprotesters camped on a lawn across the street. They filmed the human rights rally with a video camera mounted in the back of a flatbed truck.

No police were visible during the event.

In light of recent protests and a deluge of emails calling for policing reforms and shifting law enforcement funding, Lewis and Clark County commissioners held a meeting Wednesday to better inform the community of measures long implemented to address concerns such as racial profiling and unconscious bias.

"I can't make Minneapolis go away," Lewis and Clark County Leo Dutton said during the meeting. "I can tell my citizens what we've done. I can tell my citizens we're open for conversations. I want to alleviate their fears. We're still the same people that we were a month ago."

The county commissioners and Dutton said they are open to future discussions on the matter.

The Helena City Commission has also announced its intent to hold work sessions to examine and potentially make changes to its policing procedures and policies. 

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