What started out as five young men holding signs and talking with residents in downtown Kaufman grew to a march of about 20 people down Washington Street and back on June 3 night.

On June 4, the event swelled to about 100 protesters.

Kaufman Police reported no arrests or incidents during either evening of protests.

“We couldn’t ignore what was happening,” said Juan Pedroza, one of the original protesters in Kaufman, referring to events around the country calling for an end to racial injustice following the deaths of black people while in police custody. “We received a lot of positive feedback.”

There were a few people who drove by the marchers and blew clouds of black smoke from their diesel engines, but more drivers honked and waved instead.

Trey Mason said he joined the protest to advocate for diversity and the importance of respecting all people.

“It just kind of spoke to me,” he said of the recent protests, many of which have turned violent in larger cities.

That was not the goal of the Kaufman events, the organizers said.

“That was our biggest concern, that it would get out of hand,” Pedroza said. Instead, the protesters shared bottles of water with people who came to talk with them, including police officers.

There were several police and constables who observed the protest, and they also talked with the protesters, said Dana Whitaker, Kaufman Chief of Police.

“They thanked us for protecting them and making sure they were safe,” Whitaker said.

Other points of view were present, as well. One man brought signs to Thursday’s protest reading “TRUMP 2020,” “My president’s life matters,” and “Stop hurting law enforcement that are here to protect you.”

More controversy arrived when a minivan drove by the protests displaying a Confederate flag, although the owner said the flag was intended to show pride in southern heritage. The owner, who declined to give his name, also claimed that some protestors cheered and supported him. Confederate flags are considered to be a symbol of oppression to many black Americans. 

Forney also had a protest outside of the police station on Friday evening, promoted by flyers posted across the city and on social media. Word spread quickly, and in response, the city issued a declaration of disaster and imposed a curfew. This order, believed to be an attempt at stifling the protest, was later repealed. By 6 p.m. Friday, a large number of protesters had gathered, and police surrounded the area. By 8 p.m., the crowd had dispersed. 

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