Armed Trump Supporters Attacked George Floyd Protesters In Rural Ohio Town
When a group of individuals in the small town of Bethel, Ohio, decided to join in widespread protests over police brutality and racial injustice with a peaceful demonstration, they were met with supporters of President Donald Trump and other groups, some of whom were armed.
- The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the group Bethel’s Solidarity with Black Lives Demonstration worked with police to plan an event on Sunday.
- Police said they expected a group of 20 to 25 people, but 80 to 100 showed up for the demonstration.
- City officials said counterprotesters also attended, which included “several motorcycle gangs, back the blue groups, and second amendment advocates.”
- According to the report, “The crowd swelled to around 800 people, police estimated, included about 250 on motorcycles.”
- Bethel’s entire police force, which is a mere six officers, were present at the demonstration to keep the groups separated and the event peaceful; however, this proved ineffective and some counterprotesters turned violent.
- City officials said in a statement:
"Towards the latter part of the event, the various other groups began to move toward the Bethel’s Solidarity with Black Lives Demonstration area," the statement said. "This resulted in approximately 10 incidents. Those involved were removed from the scene and there are ongoing investigations concerning those incidents."
The event was organized by 36-year-old substitute teacher Alicia Gee, who said she “was inspired to hold the demonstration after seeing an Instagram post about a similar event in Hazard, Kentucky.”
"I guess in my mind, we only think about protests happening in the city. I've always gone to cities to protest. And then to see that something was happening in Hazard — I was like, if Hazard, Kentucky can have a protest, Bethel can have something," Gee said.
- The report states that “Gee received a call about a motorcycle gang lining both sides of Plane Street. The caller said they were all carrying guns.”
- Despite moving the group two blocks away from the intended location, the counterprotesters found the demonstration.
"I made it very clear to everyone that we were there to be peaceful. So when I saw (the counter-protesters) coming in, I turned around and walked ahead of them telling everyone, 'They're coming, clear the sidewalk, don't engage,' " Gee said.
- Within 15 minutes, the counterprotesters crossed the street, which was documented in a Facebook live video by demonstrator Andrea Dennis.
“I was really scared because they were carrying guns and they were so aggressive," Dennis said. "They were grabbing me and grabbing my mom and they just seemed to have no respect for the law."
“Around 3:30, the… counterprotesters?, started walking down on the other side of the street from up town, yelling obscenities and threatening us,” demonstrator Abbi Remers, whose brother was punched and knocked to the ground, wrote in a Facebook post.”A few started coming over and ripping signs out of our hands, ripping the hats and masks off of our faces, ripping things out of our pockets. Then they started surrounding us.”
“Traitors, take your ass back to the parking lot!” one man screams at a protester. “A bunch of f*cking traitors.”
“You’re in the wrong town,” a man carrying an American flag said. “Get this on your phone — this ain’t Seattle. You’re not in a Democratic state here. We don’t put up with that sh*t. All lives matter.”
Police said about 10 “minor scuffles” resulted from the incident and “there are ongoing investigations concerning those incidents."
Gee told the Enquirer: "Bethel was founded with abolitionist groups. We were a stop on the Underground Railroad. Our first mayor was Ulysses S. Grant's father. And clearly we have moved away from those groups. I just felt like it was time that we get back to them and demonstrate that we aren't filled with white supremacy and hate."