Two groups that rallied in Red Deer on Sunday could only agree on one thing: the protest was not peaceful.
Black Lives Matter protesters stood on one side with their signs, and the counter-protesters stood on the other side with their megaphones.
And then there were RCMP officers who took turns standing in the middle of the two sides, especially during the moments of tension and verbal assaults.
Approximately nine police cars and about 15 officers were seen at the afternoon rally at Rotary Recreation Park near Golden Circle.
One Red Deer woman said she was protesting for the “coloured people,” adding she grew up with Lebanese and Indigenous people.
“There is still no water in so many reserves across this country and there’s no excuse for it, and that’s only one small example,” she said.
The Caucasian woman heard the counter-protesters chanting “all lives matter.”
“I think they’re missing the point. I believe some of them, their heart is in the right place. But they don’t understand all lives can’t matter until there’s quality amongst the colours,” she said.
Adora Nwofor, a black woman from Calgary, said she’s protested in various communities, including Innisfail, Cochrane, Okotoks, Calgary and Edmonton.
“I’ve been all over the province.
“It seems like this is elevated from all the other protests I’ve been to,” she said.
“There has been verbal violence and incidents of people pushing.”
“I would not call this a peaceful protest. I do not think this is an overly violent protest, but violence has occurred here and, unfortunately, it seems like people are not going to understand we have to stand our ground, because we’re asked to leave places all the time.”
Claire Pearen, an Edmonton resident, grew up in Lacombe with white parents and a black brother and said she experienced racism in central Alberta.
“I’m mind blown at the hate that happens around here. I’ve seen more hate and anger at anti-racism protests in Innisfail and surrounding areas than I have in Edmonton.
“It’s shocking how much hate people have, and ignorance, that it’s just mind blowing,” the woman said.