Pro-Trump rally draws counterprotest in Northampton

  • A pro-Trump rally and counterprotest in downtown Northampton on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/GRETA JOCHEM

  • A pro-Trump rally and counterprotest in downtown Northampton on Sunday, October 18, 2020. STAFF PHOTO

  • A pro-Trump rally and counterprotest in downtown Northampton on Sunday STAFF PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2020 9:04:13 PM

NORTHAMPTON — In front of the historic courthouse on Main Street late Sunday afternoon, a crowd of more than 75 people stood on the sidewalk waving “Trump 2020” flags and signs.

In the median of the street, a similar-sized group of counterprotesters stood facing them, shouting, “Whose lives matter? Black Lives Matter” and holding Black Lives Matter signs and rainbow flags.

The pro-Trump event was organized by “a network of people who love the president and the police,” said Kris Ryan, who said he was a former corrections officer. He declined to say what town he lived in, but said other events in support of President Donald Trump have occurred in the state, and “I decided we were going to start doing these in liberal areas.”

The counterprotesters in the median held signs like “A vote for Trump is a vote for racism” and “Trump is a racist/rapist.” The counterprotest appeared to be spontaneous — several groups of people there said they saw it while downtown or heard about it on social media.

Asked why they were there, one counterprotester said, “There’s a lot to fight for.” Someone next to them chimed in, “like basic human decency.” They both declined to give their names.

Cars would drive down the street between the two groups, many either waving flags for the pro-Trump group or honking in support of the counterprotesters.

As of late afternoon, one person from the counterprotest side was arrested, according to Northampton Police Sgt. Patrick Moody, who was one of a number of officers at the scene. He said he could not disclose the person’s name or the reason for the arrest until they were arraigned in court.

Most there were wearing masks. But some in the pro-Trump group were not wearing face coverings. When asked if the rule requiring face coverings downtown was being enforced, Moody said: “It’s impossible to enforce that with crowds like this … We suggest they do it, but at the end of the day, what can we do?”

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.




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