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HOMEWOOD (KDKA) – Officers on horseback were looking to keep the peace near Bakery Square on Saturday, but mostly, it was calm outside the Google offices where right-wing activists had originally planned to rally.
In the wake of the tragedy last week in Charlottesville, several hundred people gathered for a peaceful march to celebrate Homewood and make sure voices in their community are heard.
“We talk about how we’re the most livable city,” march organizer Felicity Williams said. “How are we the most livable city when you have black communities in the city that are suffering so much?”
Under tight security with a strong police presence, they marched down Homewood Avenue, chanting slogans and carrying a variety of signs.
“I’m here because it’s important that we demonstrate against racism and against everything thing that’s wrong in our society,” marcher Mario Favro said.
Vanessa Davis wants the people of Homewood to know they have her support.
“I think it’s important for people of color to decide what it is they want to do and how they want to celebrate and lift up their voices,” she said, “and it’s my job to support those folks.”
Not far away, a group of counter-demonstrators gathered on Penn Avenue, ready to take a stand just in case alt-right demonstrators showed up even though their protest was canceled at the city’s Google offices.
“We wanted to be here today to say very clearly that whether you are attacking people of color or women or Jews or attacking unions, that’s not what Pittsburgh’s about,” Sarah Fishbein with the Healthcare Workers Union said. “That’s not what our members are about.”
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Police had a strong presence at Bakery Square as well. Mayor Bill Peduto says the city is obligated to keep the peace.
“In times like this, we really get tested to see if we can live up to the measures of the first amendment’s right to assemble and right to free speech,” he said.