What promised to be a nightmare scenario in Somerset on Sunday afternoon turned out peaceful, thanks to the skilled leadership of the Somerset Police Department.

Black Lives Matter supporters had circulated a notice all over social media about a "lie-in" that would occur outside the newly opened Trump Store on the GAR Highway (Route 6) in Somerset. The protest was planned for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Its intended purpose, one would assume, was to disrupt foot and motor vehicle traffic to the store.

The Trump Store, one of four to open in Massachusetts this summer, has seen brisk business. Its prime location on a busy roadway has made it a popular spot for frequent pro-Trump and Back the Blue rallies in support of the police.

NBC 10 WJAR via Facebook
NBC 10 WJAR via Facebook

Pro-Trump and pro-police supporters got wind of the Black Lives Matter protest and showed up in large numbers an hour before the BLM protest was to begin. Michael Sylvia of New Bedford Guide reported some 400 Trump/police supporters turned out, dwarfing the 50-60 Black Lives Matter protesters who arrived later.

"There were some passionate engagements, but both the Trump rally and Black Lives Matter protest were very peaceful," Sylvia said, crediting the police with keeping the lid on things. "The Somerset Police Department with support from other police departments in the area did an excellent job keeping the peace."

Protesting is a fundamental right of all Americans. It's a beautiful thing when protesters and counter-protesters can co-exist just yards away from each other without violence or disrespect. When the police are allowed to do their job and do it as skillfully as the Somerset Police did, the system is working as it should.

There were no arrests made or damage done during Sunday's rallies. All who were involved should take a bow.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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