Demonstrators gather in Centerville, police keep protesters safe

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

caption arrowCaption
Demonstrators gather in Centerville, police keep protesters safe

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

"Diversity is Strength” was written on one of the signs demonstrators held up this afternoon outside the Centerville Municipal Building.

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Although the gathering was small, the city of Centerville was prepared to protect protesters from the Greater Dayton chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. The group was taking a stand against a few men with past ties to Centerville who allegedly marched alongside white supremacists in last week’s rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned deadly.

“I’m tired of people not being accepting of others,” said Jill Hancock, who was one of about two-dozen demonstrators who came out despite recent violence in other parts of the country. “It gives you pause ... naturally, but if we’re going to react by staying at home, being complicit is just as bad.”

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In addition to a large police presence in Centerville, heavy-duty city vehicles and traffic cones limited Spring Valley Pike to one lane in each direction.

“We’re doing the best we can to try and make it as safe as possible,” said Centerville police officer John Davis.

The department brought in extra staff, put barriers in place and directed traffic to deter and prevent a vehicle attack. They said such attacks around the world have their full attention.

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“That’s our number one goal, is to make sure that these people have a safe place to express their views, and that we don’t have a repeat of what we saw in Virginia. We don’t want that,” Davis said.

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