Businesses on Main Street board up ahead of evening protests

Jun 6, 2020

Storefronts along Main Street are boarded up today in anticipation of two protest marches that are planned for this evening.

One march organized by a local woman, Jazzy Andrade, is set to leave from Onset Pier at 6 p.m. and end at the Wareham Police Station, 4.5 miles away. About 140 people have joined a Facebook group about the event.

Andrade said her protest will be “definitely peaceful.” She added that people should take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including wearing masks and gloves.

There is another protest set to begin at Besse Park on Main Street at 6 p.m. before walking to the Wareham Police Station. It is unclear who is organizing this event, but a flyer billing the protest as peaceful has been widely shared on Instagram and Snapchat.

A Wareham Police officer said that the police had heard various times and locations for the protests, but did not have any solid information.

It is unclear why merchants and police are apprehensive, but their concerns seem to be largely based on several Facebook posts that surfaced in the past few days about 5,000 to 7,000 out-of-town people planning to arrive to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and wider police violence. The source of the information in the posts is unclear. On June 6, Chief John Walcek said he had no knowledge of protesters in those numbers coming to town. 

The police substation in Onset, which is owned by the Onset Fire District, has been partially boarded up out of a general sense of caution, according to a firefighter. Stevie B’s is also boarded up, although the rest of the businesses in Onset appear to be operating as normal.

At about 4 p.m., five or six armored cars that appeared to be carrying members of the National Guard were seen driving down Rte. 28 in Wareham, along with a large bus from the Department of Correction.

At about the same time, the Wareham Fire District appeared to be moving all of its fire engines out of the Main Street station.