Black Lives Matter protest in Bethel met by counterprotest groups, town official says

Black Lives Matter protest in Bethel met by counterprotest groups, town official says
An official says by the time the event was supposed to start, between 750-800 people were now in attendance. (Source: WXIX)

BETHEL, Ohio (FOX19) - Motorcycle gangs, back the blue organizations, and Second Amendment advocates tried disrupting a Black Lives Matter protest in Bethel on Sunday, according to Village of Bethel Administrator Travis Dotson.

The original group of protesters with Bethel’s Solidarity with Black Lives Demonstration was expected to be around 20-25 people, a news release said.

Protesters worked with the Bethel Village Police Department to inform them of the event’s plans to protest on the sidewalks of Plane Street, Dotson says.

Once the word got out about the protests on social media, other groups made plans to counterprotest.

Two booths were set up on either side of Plane Street as a staging area for the officers. The Bethel Police Department had all six of its officers on duty and stationed around the demonstration area.

According to the release, six Clermont County deputies were also called to assist as needed. However, most of the deputies were called to respond to another urgent matter in the county and only one deputy was initially able to help with the demonstration.

Nine additional deputies were later dispatched.

Roughly 250 motorcycles were “occupying the intended demonstration area,” around 2 p.m., according to Dotson.

Since the original protest area was being blocked, protesters with Bethel’s Solidarity with Black Lives Demonstration were forced to move over a few blocks, the release says.

Dotson says by the time the event was officially supposed to start, between 750-800 people were in attendance.

Those there in support of the back the blue, advocates for the Second Amendment, and motorcycle gangs started moving towards the Bethel’s Solidarity with Black Lives Demonstration group as the protest was coming to an end, Dotson says.

Around 10 “minor scuffles” resulted from an incident between all of the groups, according to the news release.

Those involved in the incidents were removed from the area and investigations are ongoing, Dotson explains.

Anyone with information or might be able to identify victims and suspects is asked to call the Bethel Police Department.

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.