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Protest, counter-protest remains peaceful at site of Confederate monument in St. Augustine

An observer said the two sides remained calm as they expressed widely divergent opinions on removing the monument to Confederate soldiers.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Protestors holding signs that said Black Lives Matter were greeted by counter-protestors holding Confederate flags at the site of a fenced-in and hidden Confederate monument in St. Augustine’s downtown plaza on Sunday.

Former County Commissioner John Reardon, who provided First Coast News with video, said people who want to keep the monument in place numbered about 10 times the people who called for it to be removed, something the city commission has already approved in a 3-2 vote.

There were some “heated” verbal exchanges, Reardon said, but generally, the two sides remained peaceful. He said he was proud to see people who disagree so broadly with each other stand calm in the face of opposition.

“It’s what America is all about,” he said.

Reardon said at one point a Black Lives Matter supporter holding an American flag stood with a counter-protestor with a Confederate flag. He said the two men held a brief discussion and prayed together.

There was a “fairly heavy” police presence, Reardon said. He said the officers stood at the periphery and acted professionally, which he said was likely a reason the activities remained peaceful.

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