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Klan Group Leaves Courthouse Square, No Major Incidents Reported

Note: this is a developing story. Please check back to this page for updates.

Saturday, 3:30pm: Members of the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana have vacated Courthouse Square. Protestors are dispersing from both Main and Third Streets. 

Saturday, 1:30pm: Speakers, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley have begun at MacIntosh Park to a crowd of approximately 200 people including Dayton City Commissioners Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph and Dayton School Board member Mohamed Al-Hamdani.  Meanwhile at Courthouse Square protestors, including Dayton City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild, have turn their backs on the square and are singing and chanting. 

Around 200 people are in attendance at a Dayton Unit NAACP-sponsored event at MacIntosh Park.
Credit April Laissle / WYSO
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Around 200 people are in attendance at a Dayton Unit NAACP-sponsored event at MacIntosh Park.

Saturday, 1:00pm: Nine members of the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana have entered a fenced in area in front of the Courthouse Square fountain as protestors chant slogans including “Black Lives Matter.”

At the Dayton Unit NAACP-sponsored event in MacIntosh Park, there's block party vibe with live music playing to a crowd of around 200 among a heavy police presence.  Individuals dressed in camouflage are walking around the park but don’t appear to be armed. 

Saturday, 12:30pm: Protestors carrying flags associated with the Democractic Socialists of America and other groups have arrived on Main Street across from Courthouse Square in anticipation of the arrival of the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana. There's a heavy police presence throughout downtown Dayton including law enforcement drones and helicopters monitoring the air space above the square.

Earlier:

Hundreds of counter-protesters are expected to demonstrate in downtown Dayton during Saturday’s Ku Klux Klan rally in Courthouse Square, and many downtown Dayton businesses will be closed.

Crews began blockading streets near Courthouse Square beginning Thursday. Most closures are expected to remain in effect until Sunday, May 26.

Matthew Sliver owns a marketing agency overlooking Courthouse Square and says he’s concerned about the impact street closures on his agency’s bottom line.

“Nobody wants to be told that you can’t operate. How do you expect to run a business if you can’t have access to your office that you pay thousands of dollars a month to operate out of?”

Also closed is the Dayton Metro Library. It will serve as a temporary bus depot in place of Wright Stop Plaza. Officials say the transit hub will be closed from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.

Dayton officials continue to urge residents to avoid downtown this weekend.

On Friday, Mayor Nan Whaley released a statement saying the Dayton Police and Fire Departments are working with national public safety experts to maintain public safety. Whaley condemned the group in a video earlier this week, "“There are many ways to show this opposition, but for public safety we are encouraging people to avoid downtown during the rally on May 25."

Officials have been preparing for this since February, when the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights were granted permission to demonstrate in Dayton’s Courthouse Square. They’ve agreed not to carry assault weapons, bats or shields. But they will be permitted to wear masks and carry legal sidearms.

Fewer than 20 members of the group are expected to attend the rally. They’ll likely be exponentially outnumbered by counterprotesters. A large police presence is expected.

The Dayton Unit NAACP is sponsoring an alternative event at MacIntosh Park.
April Laissle / WYSO
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The Dayton Unit NAACP is sponsoring an alternative event at MacIntosh Park.
A heavy police presence is throughout downtown Dayton.
Jess Mador / WYSO
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A heavy police presence is throughout downtown Dayton.
Downtown streets and businesses began closing Thursday night ahead of Saturday's rally.
Sarah Caplan /
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Downtown streets and businesses began closing Thursday night ahead of Saturday's rally.

Copyright 2019 WYSO

Juliet Fromholt has been listening to WYSO for as long as she can remember. She began volunteering at the station while also serving as Program Director and General Manager at WWSU, the student station at her
Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.
April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.
Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding Americainitiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.