Live coverage: Open-carry walk at Kent State

open-carry map

KentWired Staff

5:34 p.m.

In a press release, Kent State announced President Beverly Warren will speak at a press conference regarding today’s open-carry walk at 5:45 p.m. Stick with KentWired and TV2 for live updates of the conference. At the same time, Kent State also sent out an advisory via email saying the demonstration has cleared and “normal campus activities have resumed.”

4:55 p.m.

Kaitlin Bennett voiced her opinions regarding the open-carry walk on Twitter.

4:43 p.m.

Kaitlin Bennett has left, in addition to most of the open-carry supporters and counterprotesters. The tactical riot police appear to be leaving.

4:34 p.m.

Lisa Abraham from University Communications and Marketing said there will likely be a press conference regarding the open-carry walk later today.

4:15 p.m.

Open-carry supporters are still gathered in the parking lot across from the Student Center. A small group of counterprotesters briefly confronted Kaitlin Bennett. Police remain stationed in the area.

3:51 p.m.

The walk appears to be over, though both open-carry supporters and counterprotesters remain standing in the parking lot across from the Student Center. Police are still lined up.

3:40 p.m.

Kaitlin Bennett speaks to the crowd in the parking lot across from the Student Center. She urges today’s participants to “vote red.” Bennett thanks the police for their involvement in the open-carry walk. She also said she will not leave campus today until counterprotesters leave. Watch the video below for more of her post-walk remarks:

3:35 p.m. 

Another altercation is happening. A policeman pushes a man out of the crowd to prevent more violence. The crowd yells: “Arrest that man!” 

3:28 p.m.

Protesters appear to be heading in the direction of their starting point, the parking lot across from the Student Center. 

3:20 p.m.

A man, whose forehead appears to have a cut, sits on the ground. Police carry another man, who appears to be unconscious, out of the violent crowd. 

3:18 p.m.

An altercation is happening between police and protesters. The two groups are pushing and shoving each other. At least one person is being arrested. 

3:15 p.m.

Screams are growing louder and bolder. A chant saying, “Who do protect? Who do you serve?” can be heard in the crowd. 

3:06 p.m.

The crowd is now moving. Open-carry supporters and counterprotesters are separated by a line of troopers. 

3:04 p.m.

Nobody has moved for close to five minutes now.

2:59 p.m.

The song “Ohio,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young can be heard along the Esplanade. This is a protest song written in reaction to the Kent State May 4 shootings that took place in 1970.

2:55 p.m.

The university just sent out an advisory via text and email.

“There is currently an active demonstration near the Lefton Esplanade and Bowman Hall. Avoid the area,” the advisory says.

2:53 p.m.

The line is still stopped near Bowman Hall. Troopers are breaking up a crowd that appears to have become violent. Open-carry supporters and protesters are yelling at each other. A chant saying, “Whose streets? Our streets,” can be heard in the crowd. Watch the video below for more details.

2:43 p.m.

The open-carry supporters are now stopping near Bowman Hall. 

2:39 p.m.

The marchers are now passing Olson Hall. Police in riot gear are in the middle of the line, side by side with open-carry supporters. Counter-protesters are in front of the crowd, yelling: “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist U.S.A.!”

2:35 p.m. 

The walk appears to be starting. People are heading toward the Schwartz Center. 

2:30 p.m.

People are lining up in the parking lot across from the Student Center. There are now about 100 people. Bennett is walking toward the front of the line after more interviews with the media. 

2:23 p.m.

The walk was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and is running behind schedule. Some students are playing Uno to pass the time.

2:10 p.m.

Kaitlin Bennett is addressing the crowd in the parking lot across from the Student Center. About 75 spectators are pulling their phones out to take pictures and record Bennett. Justin Moldow, who is Bennett’s boyfriend, also spoke and praised her efforts in organizing the open-carry event. 

“If this little, short blonde girl can stand up for her rights against that crowd of violent leftists, then why can’t we?” Moldow said. “Let’s show everybody that gun owners are peaceful, that gun owners support simply the right to self-defense, and that this is out right and we won’t let it be taken away.”

2:06 p.m.

Police in riot gear are lining up in the Schwartz Center parking lot in preparation for the open-carry walk to begin.

1:55 p.m.

Just five minutes before the walk is scheduled to start, Kaitlin Bennett is speaking with local media outlets in the parking lot across from the student center. She is wearing a t-shirt advertising the rally. Open-carry supporters gather around her.

1:50 p.m.

Law enforcement officers are carrying these maps in order to follow the route for the open-carry walk. 

1:29 p.m.

Kaitlin Bennett is here in the lot on Summit Street across from the Integrated Sciences Building.

1:28 p.m. 

A demonstrator dressed in medieval gear is sparking debate with people standing on Risman Plaza.

1:15 p.m.

Both protesters and police are starting to gather on Risman Plaza outside the University Library. A man holds up a neon green sign that says, “Open the library.”

12:35 p.m.

The KentWired team — members from The Kent Stater and TV2 — are gathering at Stater editor Henry Palattella’s apartment. Reporters have notebooks in hand and press passes on lanyards hanging from their necks. Palattella’s apartment will serve as the reporting hub for today’s open-carry walk on campus. The university announced Saturday morning parts of campus are closed.

Stick with KentWired for updates.