Several hundred people showed up to support police officers at a Back the Blue rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday.
“These guys get so much crap, literally, thrown at them daily,” attendee Keri Warner told the News & Observer. “They just need support and need to know what they are doing is worth it.”
The rally was organized by the Facebook group Back the Blue NC, which had 41,510 members as of Monday.
“Given the current state of the union, praise and admiration of our law enforcement officers has been quickly replaced with slander and violent opposition,” the group’s about page read. “We are here to show our support of our heroes and to speak up on their behalf. We are no longer the ‘Silent Majority,'” it continued.
Attendee Celia Croff said officers should not be targeted for putting on the uniform every day, adding that their lives matter as much as others. “People not supporting them, people thinking that they’re all bad people, so it’s time that the community comes out and shows our law enforcement and first responders the support that they need and deserve,” she told CBS 17.
The Facebook group’s chairman, Gadi Adelman, echoed her comments. “They put on a badge and go out with a target on their back everyday [sic] to work. We need to let them know that there are people that support them and want to thank them for their service,” Adelman noted.
Defunding the police would be a move in the wrong direction, Croff explained. “I definitely think that the police should not be defunded. I think, if anything, they need to be funded more” she said.
Following the rally, the group marched through downtown chanting, “USA” and “defend the police,” according to the Observer.
Organizers said they were planning another rally in Charlotte next month, adding that they hoped to host more across North Carolina, the CBS 17 report concluded.
CORRECTION: This article initially stated there were 200 rally attendees. This number was primarily based off the local outlet News & Observer’s report. Other reports, however, indicated there were more than 200 attendees. We have updated this article accordingly.