BOISE, Idaho — Boise Mayor Lauren McLean sent out a message Monday ahead of protests planned to happen at City Hall. Also happening on Tuesday is a hearing on the proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year.
This Tuesday, we understand that some Boiseans again plan to peacefully protest, exercising their due rights to free speech and assembly. I embrace these rights wholeheartedly; they’re the essence of who we are and the expectations we have as Americans. We speak out. We hold our leaders accountable. And we move, ever onwards, in hope of a more perfect union. Peacefully.
But we have also learned that there are malicious forces who seek to capitalize on Boiseans protesting their city government. Factions - many from outside of our community - will again come to our great city and seek to intimidate, threaten, and incite violence, all at the very time our community is most in need of unity and compassion. We must not let ourselves get distracted by the efforts of a vocal minority or be pulled into violence they seek to instigate. As a city, we will not tolerate violence, and will hold those accountable. So, out of an abundance of caution and desire to keep our people safe and sound, I am urging Boiseans to avoid assembling downtown on the evening of Tuesday, July 21. As a mother, I am asking you to keep your children at home. And, as someone who loves this city dearly, I’m asking you to stand with me in rebuking tactics that will tear us apart. To be clear: we will not stand for violence of any form. We will swiftly hold accountable those who choose violence.
To protect our singular and special Boise community, we must reject outside forces who seek to divide us, and we must reject those who would seek violence in the midst of peaceful protest.
On Tuesday, we are prepared to do just that, and I call upon each of you to commit to the same. I believe in us, Boise. I believe in our ability to come together through adversity, to rise to the occasion, and to stay grounded in our shared commitment to each other and this very special place we call home.
Please be safe.
Boise Police said in a series of tweets last week that officers will work to stop violence of any kind, as well as property damage. The department says they want to make sure everyone can safely and effectively exercise their rights to free speech.
Before Tuesday’s planned demonstration at City Hall, BPD protest liaisons are reaching out to individual group leaders in an effort make sure everyone can safely and effectively exercise their rights to free speech. If you are a group leader plz contact a liaison at 208-296-1658 pic.twitter.com/UUlBlk70dZ— Boise PD (@BoisePD) July 16, 2020
Chief Ryan Lee says he is expecting 10 to 15 different groups to attend the rally in front of City Hall, not just Black Lives Matter members. The Chief says Mayor McLean has received threats of violence against her and her family in advance of the event.
The Mayor has generally supported BLM which wants to defund police, but instead of taking money away, she has proposed increasing the police budget. Chief Lee says outside groups are expected to attend Tuesday's rally, so police will be ready for any trouble.
"Really, the only way to ensure the people can exercise their first amendment rights and stay safe is through a large police presence down there," said Chief Lee. "We're mindful of what that looks like, but we need to be sure we have the officers on hand and available to immediately intervene in addressing criminal behavior whether that's violence towards people or destruction of property."
Violence broke out at a Defund the Police Rally at the end of June. Police say one man accused of violence at that event has turned himself in. Boise Police say there is no indication federal troops will attend.