Black Lives Matter Activists Make Themselves Heard at Pete Rally
DES MOINES, Iowa – On Sunday, Jan. 12, at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg stood on a stage in front of what I believe is the skeleton of a mammoth. Blinding LED lights lit up his face as a few hundred supporters, who had been waiting out in the middle of a snowstorm, stood and looked up at Buttigieg. There was a lot of energy in this big space and also plenty of supporters.
Before Buttigieg took to the stage, I was pushed to the side as a group of people a little older than me made their way to the front of the stage. Specifically, the man in the picture on the cover of the blog, who smelled of cigarettes and spoke to me directly. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Excuse me.” I did not think much of it, but this group did seem to stand out compared to the rest of the supporters at the event. Not long after, a couple of men with radio communication in their ears followed behind them.
For the first ten minutes of Buttigieg’s speech, everything was pretty normal, but all of a sudden there was some commotion at the front of the stage, and everyone turned their attention to that area, including Buttigieg. At first, it seemed like some kind of medical emergency. Buttigieg asked for a medical team. I am not sure what exactly happened, but it seems like one of the activists faked passing out to divert the attention over to them. When I realized that it was actually activists causing the commotion, I started to record the incident.
The activists were protesting what Buttigieg had done as the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, specifically with the black and poor communities. I couldn’t make out what the activists were first saying but Buttigieg responded with, “I think your facts are a little wrong, I would like for us to be able to talk about this respectfully.” One of the activists responded with “We have been trying to talk to you since South Bend Pete!” The whole scene was pretty uncomfortable for everyone, but I thought that Buttigieg handled the whole situation well.
After a little bit of back and forth between Buttigieg and the activists, the crowd started chanting “BOOT-EDGE-EDGE”, trying their best to show support for Buttigieg and to drown out the activists. Two women right behind me who were with the activists started chanting “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” A Des Moines police officer moved into the area of the activists along with security and two nurses who were called when everyone thought it was a medical situation.
As the activists were escorted out through the crowd, they yelled, “Pete is anti-black and anti-poor.” Buttigieg tried his best to bring the energy back to the rally which happened after a while but proved to be difficult as you could still hear the activists yelling from the balcony.