A new report finds that 93% of protests in the U.S. this summer have been peaceful, amid claims that protests associated with the Black Lives Matter movement sparked violence. However, with the presidential election two months away, the authors report on "troubling signs" that apparently reveal the "U.S. is in crisis."
Researchers from the nonprofit Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) recorded more than 10,600 demonstrations in more than 2,440 locations across the 50 states and Washington between May 24 and Aug. 22. Of that number, researchers found 7,750 linked to the BLM protests were peaceful and violent demonstrations occurred in fewer than 220 locations.
While the majority of BLM protests were described as non-violent, the authors noted that the authorities intervened in 9% of them - or nearly one in 10. Meanwhile, 3% of other demonstrations, such as unrest over the COVID-19 pandemic, were met with government intervention, the report stated.
The authors reported that more than 5% of protests linked to the BLM movement were met with force-- tear gas, rubber bullets, or pepper spray-- by the authorities and intervention by outside actors, compared to 1% of other demonstrations, CNN reported.
"While these data present only a snapshot of demonstration activity and political violence in America, the trendlines are clear: demonstrations have erupted en masse around the country, and they are increasingly met with violence by state actors, non-state actors, and counter-demonstrators alike," the authors wrote.
While a vast majority of Black Lives Matter protests were peaceful, the use of force by authorities and intervention by outside actors in those demonstrations are a troubling sign, the report's authors wrote.
“With two months until the election, the U.S. faces deep divisions over racial inequality, the role of the police, and economic hardship exacerbated by an ineffective pandemic response,” the authors wrote.