The report also showed that government authorities were more likely to intervene in BLM protests than in other demonstrations
According to a report published Thursday by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED) — a nonprofit organization that tracks political violence and instability — in partnership with Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative, 93 percent of BLM protests have been “overwhelmingly peaceful.” More than 2,400 locations reported peaceful protests, while less than 220 reported “violent demonstrations,” defined as including “acts targeting other individuals, property, businesses, other rioting groups or armed actors.”
“There have been some violent demonstrations, and those tend to get a lot of media coverage,” Dr. Roudabeh Kishi, ACLED’s director of research & innovation, told the Guardian. “But if you were to look at all the demonstrations happening, it’s overwhelmingly peaceful.”
For the joint project — called the US Crisis Monitor — ACLED and Princeton researchers not only analyzed more than 7,750 demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter movement in more than 2,440 different locations across the United States between May 26 and Aug. 22, but they also documented more than 1,000 protests related to COVID-19, a third of which were linked to the reopening of schools and considered peaceful protests.
Government authorities were, however, more likely to intervene in Black Lives Matter protests than in other demonstrations. According to the report, “more than 9 percent — or nearly one in 10 — have been met with government intervention, compared to 3 percent of all other demonstrations.”
“These data reveal that the United States is in crisis,” the report states. “It faces a multitude of concurrent, overlapping risks — from police abuse and racial injustice, to pandemic-related unrest and beyond — all exacerbated by increasing polarization.”
Government officials were also more likely to intervene with force “such as firing less-lethal weapons like tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray or beating demonstrators with batons.” In fact, authorities used force in more than 54 percent of the demonstrations they engaged in — a significant increase compared to last year. According to the report, “over 5 percent of all events linked to the BLM movement have been met with force by authorities, compared to under 1 percent of all other demonstrations.”
Journalists were also on the receiving end of attacks from government forces. Since May, ACLED recorded more than 100 separate incidents of government violence against journalists in at least 31 states and D.C. during demonstrations associated with the BLM movement.
As Time pointed out, ACLED also highlighted a recent Morning Consult poll in which 42 percent of respondents believe that “most protesters (associated with the BLM movement) are trying to incite violence or destroy property.” Of course, ACLED’s report shows otherwise.