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Police guard FOP building in North Baltimore, site of previous vandalism, from protesters

Baltimore police set up a barricade with metal fencing and heavy city transportation vehicles around a Fraternal Order of Police building in North Baltimore Monday night in anticipation of a protest that never reached the destination.

About a dozen officers milled around inside the fencing for hours, occasionally chatting with neighbors, as the police helicopter Fox Trot buzzed overhead. Police could be heard tracking what was believed to be a small band of protesters walking around Hampden.

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A “solidarity protest and march” had been advertised on social media, though it did not specifically say the destination would be the FOP Baltimore City Lodge 3 building on Buena Vista Avenue. That building, however, had been vandalized in late July after another demonstration.

That event similarly began in Hampden and was advertised as a sit-in in solidarity with protesters in Portland, Oregon, where federal agents had used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. The protesters had marched through the streets chanting “Black Lives Matter” and shouted the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Black people killed by police.

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Their deaths and the deaths of others have prompted demonstrations in many cities. Protests have taken place in Baltimore since the July event but have been largely peaceful.

A nearby neighbor to the FOP building, Aladdin Collar, said there has been a police presence at the FOP building since the vandalism. Sometimes police cars flash their lights, which he said he found unsettling. He stood outside the metal gates and read a poem Monday night called America a Prophecy.

And hours after the barricade went up, and it appeared the protesters would not be coming, he fetched signs and returned to a spot just outside the gate occupied by four newspaper and TV journalists. He yelled “Black Lives Matter” and “Black Trans Lives Matter.”

Shortly after, the officers packed up several police cars and a van and they and the transportation vehicles left their positions.

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