SARATOGA SPRINGS — Three people were arrested Thursday night, following a Back the Blue rally in the city that was met with counterprotesters from a Black Lives Matter group.
The city announced the arrests by news release late Thursday after the two groups squared off on Broadway and in Congress Park.
The arrests were made after some protesters refused to follow police commands to leave the roadway during a sit-in, according to city police. Two adults and a minor were charged, police said.
According to a Saratoga Springs Police Department news release, a Back the Blue rally at 6 p.m. in Congress Park. It was met by a counterprotest by Black Lives Matter and another group called All of Us.
“Tensions were high, words were exchanged and both groups advanced toward each other and no violence occurred,” police said.
According to police, at 7:45 p.m. the Back the Blue rally concluded. Black Lives Matter and All of Us continued their protest by lying down in the intersection of Broadway and Congress Street for a period of time before marching north on Broadway in the roadway, disrupting traffic and forcing police to close down streets for about 45 minutes, police said.
Saratoga Spring Police said they approached leaders of the group and asked them to get out of the road.
When leaders of the group and others refused to leave the roadway, the arrests were made, police said.
According to a Times Union report a BLM supporter said a fist fight broke out between the two groups and pepper balls were fired by police to break up the protest. Several reports on social media mirrored these claims.
Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commission Robin Dalton wrote on Facebook on Friday stating: “NO tear gas or rubber bullets were used by the Saratoga Springs Police Department during last night’s protest. No injuries were reported, 3 arrests were made.”
State Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, attended a “Back the Blue” rally in Saratoga Springs Thursday night and commented Friday at Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center in South Glens Falls to promote the reopening of bowling areas in New York.
Jordan said she left the rally shortly before 7:30 p.m. after giving a speech and talking with those in attendance. The rally, she said, was peaceful and delivered a positive message in support of law enforcement.
“It was a very positive rally just thanking the police, thanking our sheriffs, thanking law enforcement for all they do,” Jordan said.
Jordan said she was unaware of any such activity, but said she was confident that police did what they had to in order to disperse the crowd.
“I can’t really speak to that because I wasn’t there, but I have faith in the Saratoga Springs Police Department in whatever they had to do to maintain safety in the community,” she said.
The confrontation attracted police agencies from across the region, including the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Unit and State Police.
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