SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Saratoga Springs city officials are looking to crack down on street protests after a number of calls were addressed to the city from local businesses, restaurants and residents complaining about the recent protest that was held on September 25th, 2020.
The protest was held by the local activist group All Of Us Community Action Group. “So a few phone calls and the city made a decision to enact change… but months of city residents, demanding change, and there was no response…” says Jamaica Miles, cofounder of All Of Us Community Action Group. Protesters were walking in Downtown Saratoga holding up signs, chanting ‘Black Lives Matter.’
During a recent council meeting, Assistant Police Chief John Catone says, “The Saratoga Springs Police department respects the rights of people to peacefully protest. People have the right to speak out on public property such as parks and government buildings, as long as they are not blocking access to the buildings or interfering with the other purposes the property was designated for.”
Lieutenant Robert Jillson says although there is video footage of protesters obstructing traffic during the protest, he says in order to make downtown Saratoga Springs a safe place for protesters, residents, and tourists— it ultimately comes down to communication. “We haven’t had much success as far as conversing the All Of Us group not for any lack of trying. That makes it more difficult for us to make sure that things go not only safely, but we can still accommodate everyones race out there and go out and walk around,” says Lt. Jillson.
Police say if another protest is held and if protesters or demonstrators disobey traffic laws, they will be given the opportunity to move and if they don’t, they may be subject to arrest. “…the constitutional rights are not just for the protesters, but for the traveling public and residents in Saratoga Springs. We want to achieve that balance where everyone can just carry out their freedoms and move around, whatever they want to go and what they want to do. Trying to get that balance to make it safe for all the players is what we’re trying to accomplish,” says Lt. Jillson.
We reached out to the mayor’s office for a comment, but have not heard back at this time.