Kudos to the scores of protesters who turned out Wednesday for a peaceful gathering on Stephenson Island.

Protests have been happening throughout the country ever since George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. The officer brutally placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds as the suspect pleaded that he could not breathe.

Floyd was apprehended on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. He was subdued and he was not a threat. He could have been placed in the squad car. He should be alive today.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran, was fired and he has been charged with murder. Three other officers who stood by were fired and also face criminal charges.

Since May 26, protests have happened in major cities from Atlanta to Seattle, from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, from New York to Denver and of course in Minneapolis among others. Many of the protests have turned violent, with fires, looting and rioting taking place. Our country has not seen this type or racial unrest since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Many smaller cities have conducted gatherings and last week was Marinette’s turn.

Some local business owners were apprehensive. Some removed merchandise from their stores and some secured their windows with boards. Some, reportedly, hired armed security to watch their stores.

We don’t blame them for being fearful, not with the reckless violence taking place in our country.

Law enforcement was ready with outside agencies, including Menominee and others from the U.P., coming to Marinette. They were discreet. They weren’t needed, but they were prepared.

The protests have focused on Black Lives Matter and how justice needs to be served for African Americans. It’s focused on police brutality and racial profiling against black citizens in the United States.

We don’t believe those issues are prevalent in our local law enforcement. At least we haven’t heard of any problems.

But that doesn’t mean local citizens can’t stand up for the cause of BLM. It doesn’t mean they can’t honor and remember the life of George Floyd.

The protesters on Stephenson Island were respectful and peaceful. They moved to the Interstate Bridge and were very orderly. We applaud them for how they handled themselves.

As we have seen in other areas, it’s the non-peaceful protesters who are the problem.

Over the weekend, the violence subsided in many places around the country. Police have taken off their riot gear and curfews have been lifted. Except for incidents in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, the protests have been peaceful.

There have been rumblings on social media of future protests taking place in Marinette. If, in fact, that does happen, we hope the protesters here can continue to do so peacefully. And we hope the non-peaceful protesters stay away.