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Hundreds Gather In Laramie To Protest Police Brutality

Maggie Mullen

On a windy Wednesday evening, local protesters filled the sidewalks of downtown Laramie wearing masks and holding signs with messages like, "Black Lives Matter" and "Silence = Violence."

After gathering downtown, protestors divided into two groups and marched up both sides of Grand Avenue for 15 blocks, staying on the sidewalk. The night before, organizers said several trucks drove by in an antagonistic way and rolled coal—a loud revving of the engine that emits sooty exhaust fumes into the air.

Timberly Vogel, president of the Black Student Alliance at the University of Wyoming, said she was impressed by how many people showed up—given it was a lot larger than previous turnouts.

"I've done marches. I've done protests. I've done it all in Laramie. And [...] I think people are motivated on all sides of the spectrum," she said.

Vogel said she thought it also helped that the protests were organized by a group of citizens, rather than an affiliated group.

"I think that there's sometimes a little bit of identity politics that comes into people partaking into certain things," she said. "We're here for something much bigger than any of us."

There was very little police presence. In a statement on their Facebook page, the Laramie Police Department said it, "vigorously supports all citizens' rights to peacefully demonstrate any cause."

Additional marches are planned for the rest of the week. Demonstrations have also taken place in Casper, Cheyenne, Jackson, Riverton, and other communities across the state in the last week.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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