Plans for a Ku Klux Klan rally in Dayton, Ohio set the city on edge and attracted national attention. But only nine people showed up for the rally Saturday, and their slogans were drowned out by 500 to 600 protesters who gathered to show their opposition to the hate-group’s message.
The Dayton police took a number of precautions to keep the protests from getting out of hand. Cara Neace, a Dayton police public information specialist, said that more than 350 police officers were assembled to keep the peace.
The Klan-affiliated group was confined to the courthouse square, and the members were separated from protestors by a fence. In the end, however, the protest remained peaceful and there were “no arrests, no citations and no use of force,” Neace said.
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein told the Dayton Daily News that the KKK rally cost the city about $650,000 in personnel and materials.
Anti-Klan protesters, including some dressed to support the Black Panthers and the Antifa, shouted slogans such as “band against the Klan,” according to local media reports. Signs seen in the crowd included, “You Are Not Welcome Here” and “Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.”
“There is a great crowd of people down here on Main Street,” City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild told WHIO TV7. “This is probably Dayton at its best.”
Local Dayton businesses also showed their support for the anti-Klan protest, with “Get your hatin’ out of Dayton” a popular slogan.
After the protests, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley shared her relief that the day had proceeded peacefully in a message on Twitter. She said that the event has helped to highlight persistent problems with segregation in Dayton.
“This ugly chapter is over, but it means we have to get back to the real work – making sure that no matter what you look like, where you come from, or who you love, that you can have a great life here in Dayton,” Whaley wrote.