By Peter Cherry
On Monday night, a marcher was shot in Bedford County, Pennsylvania as a caravan of activists were walking from Milwaukee to Washington DC for a Martin Luther King Jr. event to bring awareness to the oppression of Black people.
On Route 30 in Schellsburg, activist Frank Nitty, who has been leading the group ‘United We Walk’ in the march to Washington, said that the shooting came from the dark and was unprovoked, occurring when the protest group reached the top of a hill. The person who was shot suffered a non-life-threatening injury and is presently in the hospital.
One activist remarked, “[If you are Black], once you hit Johnstown, you hit the gas.” The police claim there was a verbal altercation which led to the fight and that activists exchanged gunfire with the reactionaries, but Nitty and others have denied that there was an altercation and that they fired back in self-defense that night.
Video footage from the night shows two white reactionaries, later identified as Terry and Annette Myers, walking out of their homes toward the caravan as it proceeded down the road; both of the Myers appeared to be brandishing firearms.
On Tuesday, there was a reactionary armed rally in the same town based on unsubstantiated rumors that “BLM was going to burn down a courthouse.” A person who taped the mobilization had guns aimed at her and her life threatened by the reactionaries, and when she approached the police they explained that she should leave the area “for her safety.”
The United We Walk group, which had no plans to meet at the courthouse, were harassed by the reactionaries in an area not far away from the courthouse. Later that night, the hotel that marchers were staying at was shot at from the entrance of the parking lot.
The group is continuing its march to Washington DC, but is pausing in the town and requesting help from armed militias supporting the movement for Black lives. Nitty has since emphasized to police in a livestream that he and others support armed self-defense and will not be the victims of racist murder: “If anybody comes at us with ill intent, we have the right to do whatever to defend ourselves. If anybody comes toward us brandishing weapons, you will be shot. You will be shot, on the spot.”
Nitty continued, “Also, anything that happens– if someone does burn down Mr. Meyers home, if someone does burn down Mr. Meyers’ garage, if someone does burn down the courthouse, you cannot tie that to me and my group. At all. If somebody said they did that for Frank Nitty– cool. I ain’t tripping. I’m not telling people to not do what they do. Y’all wanna do what y’all do, do what y’all do, do what y’all feel.”