BOISE, Idaho — On Monday afternoon, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean issued a statement warning Boiseans about what the city's concerns about the planned protests on Tuesday.
The mayor said while she supports everyone's First Amendment rights, she is encouraging people to avoid attending the protests because of the possibility the protests could become violent.
"We have also learned that there are malicious forces who seek to capitalize on Boiseans protesting their city government. Factions - many from outside of our community - will again come to our great city and seek to intimidate, threaten, and incite violence, all at the very time our community is most in need of unity and compassion," the mayor wrote.
Mayor McLean went on to say that because of the threat, she wants people to stay home and avoid the area on Tuesday night.
"As a mother, I am asking you to keep your children at home. And, as someone who loves this city dearly, I’m asking you to stand with me in rebuking tactics that will tear us apart," she said.
You can find her full statement at the bottom of this article.
The warning was released moments after new Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee held a briefing with members of the Treasure Valley media about what the police department is preparing for on Tuesday.
Chief Lee said during the briefing that the protests on Tuesday could be larger than Boiseans are used to seeing and larger than the previous protests at City Hall. He also mentioned that Boise PD will have a large presence at the protests.
"We have heard loud and clear in the last protests at city hall that the public wants more police presence, and swift action to violence and the destruction of property to ensure safety and peace and tranquility in our city," Lee said.
According to Lee, McLean and her family have also been receiving threats of violence. Because of that, Lee said the police department will have a "robust" presence at the protests to protect both city leaders, as well as members of the public.
He said the police's role at the event is to allow citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights, while also keeping all members of the community safe.
"We want people to understand why there's a police presence down there and that we really are trying to ensure constitutional liberties are able to be exercised without being interfered with," Lee said.
Mayor McLean's full statement:
This Tuesday, we understand that some Boiseans again plan to peacefully protest, exercising their due rights to free speech and assembly. I embrace these rights wholeheartedly; they’re the essence of who we are and the expectations we have as Americans. We speak out. We hold our leaders accountable. And we move, ever onwards, in hope of a more perfect union. Peacefully.
But we have also learned that there are malicious forces who seek to capitalize on Boiseans protesting their city government. Factions - many from outside of our community - will again come to our great city and seek to intimidate, threaten, and incite violence, all at the very time our community is most in need of unity and compassion. We must not let ourselves get distracted by the efforts of a vocal minority or be pulled into violence they seek to instigate. As a city, we will not tolerate violence, and will hold those accountable.
So, out of an abundance of caution and desire to keep our people safe and sound, I am urging Boiseans to avoid assembling downtown on the evening of Tuesday, July 21. As a mother, I am asking you to keep your children at home. And, as someone who loves this city dearly, I’m asking you to stand with me in rebuking tactics that will tear us apart.
To be clear: we will not stand for violence of any form. We will swiftly hold accountable those who choose violence.
To protect our singular and special Boise community, we must reject outside forces who seek to divide us, and we must reject those who would seek violence in the midst of peaceful protest.
On Tuesday, we are prepared to do just that, and I call upon each of you to commit to the same. I believe in us, Boise. I believe in our ability to come together through adversity, to rise to the occasion, and to stay grounded in our shared commitment to each other and this very special place we call home.
Please be safe.
Mayor Lauren McLean