Most local organizations said they would not protest the meeting because they don't think the Minutemen deserve any more attention. Only about 20 protestors showed up to rally against the Minuteman Project. They say the Minutemen are misinformed. They say we are a country of immigrants and they are not a drain on society but rather an important part of this country's economy.
Protestor Fernando Rivera says, “We don't agree with the hate message the Minutemen are providing to old society. We believe we all together build American strong and united.”
Some of the protestors said they were disappointed they weren't allowed inside the meeting. The director of the Minuteman Project said that's because it was a meeting, not a place for debate.
Rockford Police had a plan in place to deal with any potential outbreaks from this meeting, but no plans needed to be implemented. About 100 police officers were placed throughout downtown Rockford.
The Mobile Command Unit and the Bomb Squad unit were easily accessible. Some officers were on bikes others were armed with riot gear. Police blocked off streets between Wyman and Church and from West State Street north to Jefferson.
Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson says, “Everything is just incase. We've done a lot of pre-planning on this. We've had some estimates about how many people will be here at this point there's no telling how many will be here."
Chief Epperson says this was a very peaceful afternoon. There was some verbal confrontations but no threat to public safety.