DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The crowds have cleared out and the fences have come down at Courthouse Square.
Demonstrations remained peaceful on Main Street. A small handful of people were seen carrying rifles, but the crowds did not become violent.
City officials say roughly 500 to 600 people gathered on Main Street to counter-protest the KKK-affiliated group.
They used signs, flags and music to spread messages of unity and diversity.
Several groups joined the counter protest including Black Lives Matter Miami Valley, the New Black Panther Party, Antifa and religious organizations.
“I think that our voices are being heard by the right people,” said Yolanda Simpson of Black Lives Matter Miami Valley. “The people who wanted to come together, the people who wanted to unify, the people who wanted solidarity, the people who are about love. So if we’re reaching those people, that’s all that matters.”
There were also many people in attendance who were not affiliated with any particular group, but simply wanted to make their voices heard.
It’s really important for us as a community to demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of people in the city of Dayton do not agree with their views,” said Daniel Kamen, a Dayton resident.
Some people told 2 NEWS they couldn’t allow a KKK-affiliated group to come to their hometown unnoticed.
“Dayton is definitely my city,” said Leslie Rucker-Thompson, a Dayton resident. “And we don’t tolerate any of this here.”
“We are here, and we’re going to be here,” said Anisa Chambers, who also lives in Dayton. “White, black, purple, green – we’re all God’s kids.”
Others came from out of town to help spread the majority’s message.
“Somebody has to stand up,” said Hannah Klausner, who drove more than nine hours from Iowa to attend. “Being a person of color, I want to represent others. I feel it’s my duty as a social worker.”
Some people told 2 NEWS they want to continue the conversation on ways to stop the spread of hate.
“If we have the conversation, that’s great,” Simpson said. “If it goes further, that’s even better.”
After the KKK-affiliated group left Courthouse Square, the counter-protesters peacefully left the area.
Main Street reopened to traffic around 10 p.m. Saturday.