From 4-5:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Black Lives Matter protesters set up on the lawn of Shaler Area Middle School, which Chirdon says is like a de facto public gathering place in Shaler for many events. He says the event was peaceful and was part of a larger push in Shaler to get the local school district to enact anti-racist policies.
But the Black Lives Matter protest was met by about 20 counter protesters, on the other side of Mt. Royal Boulevard. The organizers of the counter protest were part of a pro-police event called "Back the Blue." According to a viral video on social media of the event, one of the counter-protesters yelled threatening messages about trans people and anti-LGBTQ slurs at the Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
“Kill transgenders, kill transgenders,” one of the pro-police protesters shouts into a megaphone. Shortly after this, the same protester can be heard shouting “you’re a [f——t]” repeatedly.
Chirdon spoke with Pittsburgh City Paper and says that many people at the protest also heard the man threatening transgender people and using anti-LGBTQ slurs. He confirms the authenticity of the video. Chirdon says that he knew of at least two trans people present at the Black Lives Matter demonstration.
The leader of a Back the Blue rally in Pittsburgh switched from chanting "All lives matter" to "Kill transgenders" pic.twitter.com/T6ZaEyj4sN— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) July 26, 2020
“A lot of people said in the group that it hurt them,” says Chirdon of the counter-protesters threats and slurs.
According to a poster for the Back the Blue rally, the pro-police protest was supposed to run from 3-4 p.m. on Saturday. And the Black Lives Matter protest started at 4 p.m., but the pro-police crowd apparently stuck around and crossed the street to counter the larger Black Lives Matter crowd.
Chirdon says the counter protesters were being “loud and being jerks” during the youth lead Black Lives Matter demonstration. Video shows the pro-police waving Thin Blue Line flags and holding Blue Lives Matter signs while one man is shouting threats to kill trans people.
The entire more than 90-minute audio of the event was posted on a local blog, which can be heard here.