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'Blue Lives Matter,' 'Defund Police' Rallies Clash In Charlotte

marshall_park_protest_1.jpg
CMPD
A "Blue Lives Matter" rally clashed with a "Defund The Police" rally in Charlotte's Marshall Park on Saturday.

Dueling protests came to head in uptown Charlotte's Marshall Park on Saturday afternoon, with skirmishes breaking out between members of a "Blue Lives Matter" rally and a "Defund The Police" rally. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they used pepper spray on one person but didn't make any arrests. 

The two rallies had been scheduled for the same time in different parts of uptown. The "Defund The Police" rally, organized by the activist group Charlotte Uprising, began at 2 p.m. outside the government center on Fourth Street. After meeting at the government center, the group marched to Marshall Park, where a "Blue Lives Matter" rally was underway.

Video of the groups' confrontation was live-streamed by Queen City Nerve and citizen journalist Jeff Taylor. Other news outlets also attended. Footage from the scene showed a line of officers standing by as members of both groups begin to scuffle over banners, flags and other rally materials.

As police intervened to separate the two groups with a bike barricade, one officer fired pepper spray into a group of protesters with Charlotte Uprising. The police department tweeted that a protester had attempted to take a patrol officer's bike, leading to the use of pepper spray.

Protesters dispute that version of events. Police say no arrests were made.

The incident came a day after a judge dissolved a temporary restraining order that prevented the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department from using chemical agents on protesters.