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Hundreds protest in Grayson

Protesters and counter-protesters debate on Main Street in Grayson
Protesters and counter-protesters debate on Main Street in Grayson(John Lowe/WSAZ)
Published: Jul. 26, 2020 at 12:47 PM EDT
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UPDATE 7/26/2020 @ 8:45 PM:

GRAYSON, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Main Street in Grayson was flooded with both protesters and counter-protesters making their voices heard on both sides of the law enforcement debate.

A couple of hours before the protest was set to begin, hundreds of counter-protesters (many of them armed) began assembling near the intersection of main street and Kentucky State Route 7 they say to support and provide additional backup to Grayson Police and Carter County Sheriff’s Deputies for the main protest.

“Personally one of the big things is say this was my small town,” counter-protester Dacoda Mays said. “I would hope to get some support as well.”

Several of those counter protesters were armed and even stood watch atop buildings on Main Street.

“A lot of people out here are thinking that people are coming to destroy the town and that’s not what the movement’s about at all,” protester Scott Johnson said. “It’s sad.”

As the scheduled protest march was about to begin, protesters and counter-protesters did engage in arguments and debate with police intervening to make sure there was no violence.

Main Street in Grayson has reopened.

ORIGINAL STORY 7/26/2020

Several streets in downtown Grayson are closed in preparation for a peaceful protest Sunday.

Deputies say Main Street is blocked off from KY 7 to Landsdowne Ave.

The area is expected to be shutdown until 6 p.m.

Dozens of protesters are expected in the area during this time.

In a statement sent to WSAZ Sunday, the Grayson Chamber of Commerce says “the Grayson Police Department, Sheriff Department, Fire Dept., & Emergency Management are coordinating a plan to protect the peace during the protest to avoid any damage to persons or property.”

The Chamber says Grayson Police have met with the organizer of the protest who assured that Sunday’s demonstration will be peaceful. However, Grayson Police have a contingency plan in place “should it escalate and become destructive or violent.”

Several speakers are expected to say a few words, including Breonna Taylor’s mother.

Taylor was killed in March by Louisville Police officers who were executing a “no-knock” warrant.

We’re told there will be a march which will start on Main St. and move towards Prichard Street. It will end at the Grayson police station where protesters say they will lay down for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, in honor of George Floyd. This is planned to be repeated seven times.

“Grayson is a peaceful community, and I hope that our citizens will respect others’ rights to peacefully protest,” said Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce President Michelle Wilhoit. “We encourage our members not to provoke or antagonize the protesters. Confronting the protesters will serve no purpose other than to escalate the situation into a riot. So, please allow these American citizens to express their rights of free speech in a peaceful manner.”

WSAZ has a crew in Grayson and will be updating throughout the day.

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