Jul 8, 2016 8:28 PM
PORTSMOUTH — In the aftermath of the tragedy in Dallas, communities across the Granite State are taking extra precautions to keep residents safe while moving forward.
Portsmouth is one of those communities, and two major public events will take place downtown on Saturday.
The first is a march organized by NH Rebellion and Open Democracy, which will begin at Portsmouth High School and end at Fort Constitution in New Castle. It will pass through Market Square.
A Black Lives Matter vigil hosted by Occupy New Hampshire Seacoast will follow that evening, also in Market Square.
Organizers of both events have been working with law enforcement to ensure attendees are safe so they can proceed as planned.
“We can't live in fear,” said Olivia Zink of NH Rebellion and Open Democracy. “We can't let recent events stop us from raising awareness about this important cause.”
Representatives from Occupy New Hampshire Seacoast said the Black Lives Matter event will be a silent, candle lit vigil “in honor of all the lives lost this week.”
The Portsmouth Police Department said it’s staying vigilant in light of what happened in Dallas but is otherwise keeping patrol and event management plans the same as usual.
In a statement released on social media, the department did share its response to the ambush, saying, “The PPD’s blue heart felt condolences and sympathies go out to those brave officers and their families in such a horrible time...This is a very sad time indeed for every United States citizen.”
Residents in Portsmouth praised local law enforcement Friday, saying there’s no reason why people can’t or shouldn’t gather peacefully.
“The more people that come out the better,” said Jill Case of Rye. “I believe in loving on each other and being vigilant, being aware, being safe, know your surroundings. Our police officers, they're wonderful people."
Others expressed how frustrated they were to hear the news out of Texas.
“It's just not right and everything's just out of hand right now,” said Judy Martin of Portsmouth. “We’re all people. We all bleed the same.”
City officials are encouraging residents to be especially aware of their surroundings in the coming days and support the police department’s efforts to keep the entire community safe.
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