Weekend rallies held without much incident - KCTV5 News

Weekend rallies held without much incident

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Liberty Memorial rally (Alice Barr/KCTV5) Liberty Memorial rally (Alice Barr/KCTV5)
Liberty Memorial rally (Alice Barr/KCTV5) Liberty Memorial rally (Alice Barr/KCTV5)
Liberty Memorial rally (Alice Barr/KCTV5) Liberty Memorial rally (Alice Barr/KCTV5)

A group of neo-Nazis as well as a couple of counter-protests were held Saturday in Kansas City.

The concern leading up to Saturday's rallies was all about the neo-Nazi demonstration downtown but, in the end the counter-protest across the street and a second one at the Liberty Memorial far outnumbered the Nazi rally.

About 30 neo-Nazis turned out on the Jackson County Courthouse steps downtown for the 3 p.m. rally. Their main goal, they said, was fighting against immigration.

The city called in about 80 police officers for security and shut down six blocks surrounding the rally and a counter protest across 12 Street, where more than 100 people gathered. Those across the street were largely from the Latino Coalition of Kansas City.

Added to that was the roughly 300 people who turned out at Liberty Memorial. They spoke up for immigration rights as well as civil and human rights for all.

Organizers said their peaceful response drawing a crowd so much larger than the original rally said a lot.

"It says that 30 over there is still too many, and it says that Kansas City is, no matter where you go in this metro area, we do not tolerate hate," said Amber Versola, the event organizer.

"All kind of ages, all kind of people, black, white, brown, 12 to 92, it was amazing to see all of these people out here for the same cause, for us to come together to support civil rights and human rights," said Ayanna Hightowner, a civil rights investigator for Kansas City.

Kansas City police banned all kinds of things at the neo-Nazi rally downtown because they were worried about safety and said that many things – from the poles used to hold signs to full water bottles – could be used as a weapon.

Officers screened for many items on the way in, and there has been no report of any violence or major issues at any of the rallies.

One person was arrested downtown, but it's unknown at this time which rally they were a part of and why they were arrested.

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