Violence erupted at a drag storytelling event over the weekend between several anti-drag protesters and activists defending the event, in a series of filmed confrontations that saw two arrested.
Billed as the ‘Rock-n-Roll Humanist Drag Queen Story Hour,’ the all-ages drag extravaganza took place at Wadsworth Memorial Park outside Akron on Saturday for several hours during the which tensions remained high and threatened to boil over. at several points, as protesters vastly outnumbered supporters.
Many were armed, with several shouting hateful slurs and giving Nazi salutes as guns were pointed at each other and maces were unfurled in a series of brawls that broke out towards the end of the four-hour event.
Recorded by journalists who attended the event, the increasingly scandalous altercations it resulted in men from both sides being arrested and later charged with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Those charges stemmed from a series of recorded riots, including one in which an attendee beat a protester wearing a medieval bulletproof vest with a mace, and another in which a man drew a gun and threatened to shoot several supporters of the event. .
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Violence erupted at a drag storytelling event in Wadsworth, Ohio, over the weekend between anti-drag protesters and activists defending the event, in a series of confrontations in which two were arrested.
Recorded by journalists who attended the event, increasingly scandalous altercations resulted in men from both sides being arrested and later charged with disorderly conduct.
Those charges stemmed from a series of recorded brawls, including one in which a man, seen being led away by law enforcement officers here, drew a gun and threatened to shoot supporters of the event.
The civil unrest serves as the latest example of the ongoing backlash seen towards the increasingly common practice of performing drag shows for children, which has prompted many parents to accuse the organizers of trying to instill pro-LGBTQ beliefs in children. their children when they are still young.
That said, the event in a small town that serves as something of a conservative outpost for its much larger, Democratic-led neighbor a few miles to the east, did go ahead as scheduled, despite resorting to social networks in the days before the violence.
Days earlier, in a letter sent to residents, the City of Wadsworth confirmed in a public statement that there would be a heavy police presence at the event and warned residents that could get out of control.
“After much discussion and legal review, we have no choice but to let the event go ahead.” Wadsworth Public Safety Director Matt Hiscock and Wadsworth Police Chief Dan Chafin told the city’s roughly 24,000 residents.
Many were armed, with several shouting hateful slurs and Nazi salutes, while pointing guns at each other and unfurling maces in a series of brawls that broke out towards the end of the four-hour event.
Officials further advised that everyday residents should not attend, saying residents “should avoid being in the park as much as possible.”
The couple’s warning apparently fell on deaf ears, however, as more than 200 protesters descended on the small park on Saturday, drawn from various hate groups, including the neo-Nazis ‘Blood Tribe’ and White Lives Matter of Ohio.
Other organizations in attendance included the white nationalist Patriot Front, the Proud Boys and various unaffiliated conservative groups, many of whose members sought to distance themselves from their more radical counterparts.
Vehicles seen scattered around the police-occupied event had license plates from another state, while Police Chief Chafin said officers from his department near the city and county of Medina lost track of about 200 attendees. .
Chafin confirmed Sunday that his department made two arrests during the ordeal, but said they could not comment on the men’s identities pending further investigation.
Two were arrested following a series of reported riots, including one in which a protester wearing medieval armor, seen here, was beaten by an attendant.
Protesters were seen carrying signs with messages such as “White Lives Matter” and “Mothers Against Grooming,” referring to to the alleged process of building trust with children or families with the ultimate goal of sexually abusing children.
Meanwhile, supporters, many of whom turned violent upon seeing the hate groups arrive, told reporters that the purpose of the event was not “to make gay children, but to keep gay children alive.”
Others protested the age appropriateness of transvestite people reading to children, while saying they were “shocked” by the kind of radical groups the event had attracted.
The Proud Boys, for example, a neo-fascist all-male organization known for its repeated clashes with its far-right nemesis Antifa, distanced itself from white nationalist groups like the red-clad neo-Nazi Blood Tribe, repeatedly warning them to physically distance themselves.
When that group, led by notorious neo-Nazi Chris Pohlhaus, arrived, dozens of peacekeeping officers had to rush to their defense, receiving threats from their fellow anti-drag activists.
Amid the tense schisms on the anti-drag front, few protesters could be heard hurling orders at the most brazen and openly hateful nationalist groups, shouting ‘Nazis, go home’ and other similar instructions.