RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – There were tense moments between two groups with separate messages in Rio Rancho Saturday night. Police had to break up one group in support of Black Lives Matter, along with a group supporting President Trump and Blue Lives Matter, that were both protesting off Southern Boulevard and Highway 528.
“We’re here today to bring the City of Rio Rancho united with New Mexico,” said Te Barry, the leader of Black New Mexico Movement. “As our namesake Black New Mexico Movement, we feel like here in Rio Rancho, we’re divided and it’s our closest city so why not start here and bring the unity that we are always talking and preaching about?”
Black New Mexico Movement organized the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. Barry said his group had to change the location of their protest in Rio Rancho multiple times because they heard that counter protests would be held at the same time and place.
Meanwhile, organizers with the Back the Blue Rally claim they already had plans to host their event. “I think the way they organized the event is a little bit amateur,” said Phillip Munsom, with the Back the Blue Rally. “I think with Rio Rancho being a small community, a very tight-knit conservative community, I think it’s trying to make almost like a speech that we’re going to be here, we’re going to be in your faces, we’re going to try and make you feel uncomfortable.”
The majority of Saturday’s protests were very strained between the two sides that were separated by a road. Things escalated around 7 p.m. when Blue Lives Matter protesters came close to the Black Lives Matter protesters’ side and that’s when people started yelling at each other. Police and others came to intervene to create a wall between both sides. However, there were a couple of moments of unity during the night, with both parties listening to what each other had to say.
Black Lives Matter supporters were also encouraging people to register to vote and fill out the census. Later in the night, members of the group ‘Cowboys for Trump’ arrived on horseback.
Rio Rancho police told KRQE there were no arrests made. But said they did have to escort out a couple of Blue Lives Matter protesters for creating tension.