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Glens Falls protest turnout tops 300; More demonstrations planned for Friday

Glens Falls protest turnout tops 300; More demonstrations planned for Friday


GLENS FALLS — Police arrested one person for disorderly conduct in a loud but relatively peaceful protest that grew to more than 300 people on Sunday night at Centennial Circle.

People came out in support of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who was killed last week while in police custody.

While this demonstration was not planned ahead of time and people gathered spontaneously, a more formal event is taking place on Friday. There will be a protest in Glens Falls at noon on Friday at Centennial Circle.

Another one had been scheduled for Lake George at that same time, according to social media posts, but law enforcement officials say that may not be happening. The Warren County Sheriff's Office confirmed late Monday the event has been canceled.

Area police were on alert for much of Sunday after hearing social media chatter that a group of people were coming to Glens Falls to wreak havoc. A man posted a video claiming that a group wanted to burn down the city.

“We got word that there might be some violent act directed toward the city. We made preparations for that,” said Glens Falls Police Assistant Chief Joseph Boisclair.

Police officers were at Centennial Circle most of the day, where there were some scattered protesters.

The crowds started to build by nightfall.

“We increased the police presence accordingly. Fortunately, we really didn’t have any issues. Things were kind of loud, noisy, but that’s expected to be at a rally of this nature. Things were relatively peaceful,” he said.

A couple of punches were thrown by a couple of individuals, according to Boisclair.

“We were able to separate the parties involved,” he said.

One person was arrested for that incident.

There were two different groups. Boisclair said police tried to keep a group of President Donald Trump supporters separated from the main protesters.

Police made the decision at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday to close Centennial Circle for safety reasons, according to Boisclair. People started to drift away, but there were some stragglers into the early morning hours until everybody was gone by 2 a.m.

Boisclair said police are working with organizers of Friday’s planned protest. He did not recall the name of the group.

“We’re planning with them to make sure they have the opportunity to get their message out and do it in a safe manner,” he said.

Mayor Dan Hall said the city brought in help from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, State Police and Hudson Falls Police.

Hall said he is thankful that there were no damages or injuries.

‘Spontaneous demonstrations’

The Glens Falls Common Council in February adopted a local law requiring organizations of demonstrations to give notice to the city.

Hall said there was no advance notice of these demonstrations. The council realized that these “spontaneous demonstrations” were going to happen based upon world events, he said.

“The local law we put in was for planned protests, so we can be organized. This was not a planned protest. It was spontaneous,” he said.

Social distancing takes back seat

Warren County Sheriff Jim LaFarr said Glens Falls Police reached out to his office to see if it could provide additional officers for support.

LaFarr said he was not able to verify that a group was targeting Glens Falls and the rumors took on a life of their own. News of the protest then spread through Facebook and social media.

“I think seeing that people were out and gathering, that caused more people to want to come out,” he said.

LaFarr said initially officers and protesters were wearing masks and practicing social distancing. However, as day turned to night, that took a back seat to crowd control and public safety.

“These people were very passionate last night and wanted to have their voices heard. That was just something we were watching, more to keep the people under control and safe as opposed to wearing masks and trying to enforce social distancing,” he said.

LaFarr said his office will be ready to assist in Friday’s protest.

He has not been able to confirm that there is an event happening in Lake George on Friday. There was a social media post saying it was happening and then a subsequent one saying it was canceled.

Lake George village Mayor Robert Blais said he had seen the same social media posts. He did not know who was organizing it. He said he looked at the poster and the contact information was a South Carolina telephone number.

He thought it may have been scam.

Blais said he was going to suggest that Shepard Park was too small a venue and to move it to Beach Road. The village will be ready if an event does come, he said.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or and follow his blog


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