Dueling protests in Oaklyn, N.J. after business puts up banner supporting police

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Dueling protests in Oaklyn, N.J. after business puts up banner supporting police
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Dueling rallies were held in Oaklyn, New Jersey on Monday night. Protesters on one side of the road were supporting the police while the other side showed support for Black Lives Matter.

OAKLYN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- In Oaklyn, New Jersey, two protests with opposing viewpoints were held only yards apart on Monday night.

The protests were spawned after the owner of Lakeview Custom Coaches put up a banner that read: "All lives matter, God bless & protect our police officers."

"I mean we are a nation of laws. That law and order is maintained by our great police officers," said Edward X. Young of Brick, New Jersey.

Across the street, people waved Black Lives Matter signs and placards while chanting, "No racists police, no justice, no peace!"

"We see this as a blatant disregard, a blatant attack on the Black Lives Matter movement," said supporter Melissa Garner.

The controversial banner was put up by business owner Pete Corelli.

"I'm trying to get that message out that we need the police department, without them, we have nothing, we have anarchy," said Corelli.

"If police did their proper job, there wouldn't have to be a Black Lives Matter. I don't think they understand that," said Eric Robinson of Collingswood.

Chants by Black Lives Matter protesters were drowned out by patriotic music blaring from the other side of the street.

And when the national anthem was played, BLM supporters took a knee and raised fists in the air, while the other side waved American flags with the blue stripe showing support for police.

"This is about a privately owned business being bullied into doing what other people want and that's not how freedom works, that's not how this country works," said Kat Agront of Oaklyn.

"They need to take their signs down. We just gotta stand together and protest," said Timothy Stokes of Camden.

The protests ended peacefully later in the evening. Both sides have vowed to demonstrate in the coming days.