With perhaps a thousand protesters on both sides of the ‘Reopen Delaware’ debate expected at today’s rally in Rehoboth, police have ramped up their numbers and they have devised a color-coded system that is meant to separate the two groups and ensure an incident-free event.
The “Storm the Beach” rally kicks off at Noon at the Rehoboth Beach bandstand, and unlike previous ‘Reopen’ protests in Dover and Wilmington, hundreds of counter-demonstrators are expected to show up at today’s event.
Rehoboth Beach Police have installed crowd control equipment at the event site to provide “safe areas” for individuals on both sides of the debate to safely gather and maintain social distancing. These areas will be clearly marked as participants arrive from Rehoboth Avenue.
Members and supporters of Re-Open Delaware are asked to gather on the Northside of the Bandstand in the area designated in red. which politically is the color of the Republican Party
Individuals with opposing views are asked to gather on the Southside designated in blue.
Reopen Delaware supporters quickly noted on Facebook the fact they had been assigned the red side. Because the assignation of red-as-Republican, states that go Republican in presidential elections are depicted as red. States that go Democratic go blue.
The Rehoboth Beach Police ask that participants and spectators to respect one another by not resorting to threats, violence, or disorderly behavior. “These types of actions will not be tolerated,” their message stated on Facebook.
They also encourage protesters and bystanders to maintain social distancing and wear face masks. However police do not have plans not cite anyone for either infraction.
Despite Thursdays news that beaches and boardwalks in Delaware would open on Friday, Reopen Delaware rally planners said they were still energized to “Storm the Beach.” Facebook group administrator Richard Bishop said that because shops and restaurants are still not fully open, his group is pressing on with its demonstration.
“We’ve changed focus just a little bit. We are certainly happy with any manner of forward progress, and today the Governor demonstrated progress,” said Bishop on Thursday.
“But Delaware is still not fully open — businesses and restaurants are not fully open. Businesses are being crushed by the extended closures. We are not going rest until the state is fully open,” he said.
This is the same group that demonstrated at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington on May 1. That group held a demonstration on the same day that “Delawareans Against Excessive Quarantine” held a rally in Dover.
The two groups are unrelated with seemingly similar goals — that the governor’s target for a gradual reopening of the economy starting June 1 isn’t enough.
Regarding today’s protest, Bishop said, “We will have speakers, singers, people announcing runs for office, and contests for ‘best signs.'”
In a message to rally attendees on Facebook, the Rehoboth Beach Police said that they will not refrain from citing protesters who get out of line.
“We remind everyone who plans to attend the event that while they take advantage of their right to speak they must comply with local and state laws, as well as, the Executive Orders of the Governor and the Mayor of Rehoboth Beach. We strongly warn that failure to do so could result in various consequences to include; the issuance of a verbal warning, a civil citation, and/or a full-custody criminal arrest, all of which is determined by the actions of the violator.”