Another group plans to show up to protect businesses

A “Demonstration for Justice and Peace,” along with a subsequent march has been scheduled in Monticello for noon this Saturday on the courthouse square. Organizers are encouraging participants to show up as early as 11 a.m. to hang posters, make signs and decorate sidewalks with chalk.

“By holding this demonstration, we hope to show that Monticelloans support full social equality for all. In light of the recent killing of George Floyd, this conversation has been re-sparked, and it is our time to step up and stand up for what we believe in,” said Ellie Carpenter, one of the organizers, in a Facebook post.

Another group is asking motorcycle owners and concealed carry weapon owners to show up and set up a “perimeter to protect local businesses.”

Central Illinois Citizens for Freedom said on a Facebook page entitled “Patriots United to Protect Monticello” that, while termed a peaceful protest, “we already know that protests turn into riots. We cannot allow out-of-town protesters to destroy our historic hamlet.”

Monticello Police Chief John Carter said the protest organizers have been in contact with him, and that he helped tweak their parade route, which will follow the hour-long demonstration downtown. He also said there will be police presence on the scene which will include agencies outside of Piatt County.

“There are going to be a number of officers there,” said Carter, who did not think either side was showing up to cause problems.

“My main concern is bringing people to town who don’t live here and don’t care,” he added.

He also encouraged participants to “be respectful – both sides. Be peaceful, and clean up afterwards. This shouldn’t be like locusts going through a garden.”

Carpenter encouraged those attending to bring their own signs as well. Organizers are also asking people to wear masks.

“We will be doing our best to cooperate with CDC guidelines, so please bring a face covering. We understand that some people are worried about attending due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be live streaming the event for anyone unable to attend.”