ITHACA, NY -- Ithaca Police Chief Dennis Nayor has issued a public service announcement ahead of a scheduled rally on Saturday and an anticipated counter-protest. He urges those attending to remain peaceful and not engage in violence or vandalism. His full statement is below.
As the police chief for the City of Ithaca, I have been made aware that a large rally is scheduled for this Saturday on the Commons and simultaneously, a counter protest is also rumored to be occurring. I am also aware that acts of aggression and non-peaceful activities have occurred as recently as last Friday at another local rally. I have received reports that this type of unlawful behavior has been indicated to occur again at Saturday’s rally, and it is completely unacceptable.
Support for any position must occur peacefully and if any participant from either side has any intent other than peacefully demonstrating, then I implore you to stay home. As we at the IPD have done for the past 19 weeks, we continue to support peoples’ first amendment rights to peacefully assemble in protest, but we will not tolerate acts of violence or vandalism. The weekly demonstrations have devolved from peaceful gatherings to destructive protests and this is dangerous, harmful and completely counterproductive to the wellbeing of our community.
I have reached out to organizers and affiliates from all parties urging peaceful assemblage. Despite our best collective effort, however, we in law enforcement can not guarantee safety at non-permitted events such as protests, so please take this fact into serious consideration as both organizers or attendees.
Also, as two additional reminders: The Health Department guidelines require physical distancing of six feet between others, use of masks, and gatherings of no more than 50 people to reduce the spread of COVID. Extensive efforts have been implemented in Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca to limit the spread of COVID to maintain the health of the community and our economy, so please understand that demonstrations such as expected for Saturday run counter to those efforts. Similarly, the City requires permits for gatherings to be sanctioned, so please see chapters 132, 157, and 250 of the Ithaca City Code.
Finally, we have contacted surrounding law enforcement agencies to coordinate and address acts of violence and vandalism so please share this with anyone who would benefit from such information.