Minden prepares for demonstrations
With an estimated 1,200 total demonstrators expected in Minden this morning, precautions have been underway on both sides of Buckeye Road.
On Thursday, Nevada Department of Transportation workers brought in concrete barricades to block off the parking lot at the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.
The day before, workers set up fencing around the Bently Heritage Distillery to prevent damage should today’s protests devolve.
Douglas County Sheriff’s officials met at Lampe Park with two groups planning counter protests in anticipation of the arrival of Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
During that session, counter-protesters were urged to avoid physical confrontations.
Because the center’s parking lot and Water Street will be blocked off, parking will be at a premium in downtown Minden this morning.
“Cement walls will be installed to block motor vehicle traffic on Water Street for people to be able to move safely and freely on foot in this area,” Douglas County Spokeswoman Melissa Blosser said.
Water Street was closed on Thursday and will remain closed until sometime Monday morning.
“We apologize for the inconvenience to your travel and appreciate your patience as we work swiftly to keep our community safe,” Blosser said.
Motorists should expect traffic to be snarled around the center located at Highway 395 and Buckeye Road as participants cross the highway on their way to and from the protest.
Douglas County commissioners participated in planning for the demonstrations.
“Board members have attended meetings and are actively engaged in facilitating conversations with the County Manager, Emergency Management, the Library and the Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of our community,” according to a statement issued on Thursday. “Douglas County is a pleasant community and our citizens include many races, ethnicities, religions, and beliefs. We have worked together to preserve the historical character and scenic beauty of Douglas County and share a collective pride in our community.”
Commissioners said that they won’t tolerate violence or destruction of property at the demonstration.
“Douglas County and all its public safety resources will be available to ensure the protection of the public,” the statement concluded.
Protests were called at the center after a conflict over a diversity statement proposed for adoption by the Douglas County Public Library prompted a response from Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley last week.
The statement, which included the sentence “We support #BlackLivesMatter” was never adopted by the Library Board.
Coverley provided a letter for public comment for the July 28 meeting that concluded with the statement “Due to your support of Black Lives Matter and the obvious lack of support or trust with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, please do not feel the need to call 911 for help.”
Coverley is scheduled to make a statement to the press at 9:30 a.m. today.
Not long after the letter came to light, the Sheriff’s Office said it would continue to respond to calls at the Library, but by that time the issue had become national news and attracted the attention of the Carson City branch of #Black Lives Matter.