DELMAR – The bedroom community of Bethlehem again served as the setting for a nationwide conversation between Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue movements when the two collided at Four Corners on Saturday, July 4.
Both movements organized congruent rallies for the banner day of the holiday weekend. Back the Blue supporters gathered around the clock with several American flags flapping in the summer breeze. Less than a quarter mile away, a Black Lives Matter rally was meant to gather around Bethlehem Town Hall.
At the afternoon’s height, roughly 600 people representing both sides stood along the intersection of Delaware and Kenwood avenues, screaming and chanting. It was a scenario the Bethlehem Police Department was initially concerned with, prompting the local police agency to initiate the services of the Albany County Sheriffs and New York State Police.
Pockets of arguments ignited throughout the day as individuals from each side crossed the street to faceoff against the opposition. It ultimately painted a mosaic of signs declaring the support for, and the defunding of, police agencies.
Two hours passed before the majority of Back the Blue demonstrators dissipated allowing the other side to gather underneath the town clock. Those who had remained, appeared to stay to engage in conversation over their issues.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.