ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford City Market announced Thursday that it would be canceling Friday’s event due to the anticipated presence of “aggressive and disruptive” protesters.
“In the interest of safety for our patrons, our vendors, and the community at large, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this Friday’s City Market on July 31,” City Market chairman Peter Provenzano said in a statement. “We are saddened at the environment that has existed during the last few Fridays at the Market and are very concerned about the proximity of vendors and market goers to the protesters who have been and continue to be very aggressive and disruptive with their actions.”
Members of the group May 30th Alliance, with support of Rockford Youth Abolitionists, have been staging protests just outside the City Market on Fridays, blocking traffic and using a loud speaker to broadcast speeches and music with explicit lyrics.
May 30th was the date of a “Protest Against Police Brutality” in Rockford, during which protesters clashed with Rockford Police outside the department’s District 1 headquarters, at 1045 W State St.
Rockford Youth Abolitionists demanded an investigation into police tactics used that night, after several rioters were allegedly injured in arrests after throwing rocks and other objects at police, smashing windows of the building, and vandalizing a sign.
On Wednesday, a police review board found the officers were not guilty of criminal conduct and they “utilized the amount of force reasonable and necessary to affect the criminal arrest and criminal and destructive intent of those who were in attendance.”
In response, the protests groups have threatened to disrupt future Rockford City Market, Food Truck Tuesdays, and other public events.
“Friday nights at the City Market are meant for gathering and being neighborly. All are and have always been welcome. This is why we started the Market in the first place—to bring us all together in the heart of our city. However, we must be peaceable, civil, and respectful, inside, and outside of the Market’s boundaries,” Provenzano said.
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