UNION, Ky. - A library in Northern Kentucky housed a controversial meeting Monday night that sparked debate over First Amendment rights.
While a white supremacist group held an anti-immigration meeting inside, demonstrators exercised their own free speech rights outside.
The controversy erupted when Florence and Boone County residents started to see flyers publicizing the meeting on their cars over the last week.
The flyer read in part that it wanted to rid the region of immigrants and "the rabble from the inner city of Cincinnati who have flocked to Florence." To view the flyer click here (http://media2.wcpo.com/pdfs/letter.pdf) .
Residents upset over the tone and message decided to mount an impromptu demonstration. A half dozen protesters held signs at the Scheben branch of the Boone County Public Library calling for understanding and peace between the races.
"When I found out about the flyer, it really worried me. I think this man really is dangerous and that his message is really dangerous," said protester Deanna White from Florence.
The man she is referring to is Robert Ransdell, Cincinnati leader of the National Alliance, a white supremacy group. Ransdell wrote the flyer and called the meeting.
The library stated that it could not legally deny him permission to use a conference room.
"The library is there for everyone in the community to use. We can't really discriminate. It would be inappropriate for us," said Boone County Library Director Greta Southard.
9 News was allowed inside the meeting before its official start. There was a handful of supporters in the room with Ransdell.
"The essential second class citizenship that we have and I think everyone in this establishment knows. The anti-white establishment: the government, the media and their camp followers, they know that the only thing standing between a real revolt and a stand against multi-culturalism and diversity is white people no longer fearing the smears. No longer being worried about being called names," said Ransdell.
Outside that meeting, protesters had a very different message.
"I think that his message is one of hate and intolerance. I think he is bullying immigrants. I'm trying to teach my son the message of tolerance and reaching out with love to people and I want adults to do that, too, in this community," said White.
Demonstrators added that it was important to show the public that residents will speak up for diversity and tolerance.
During the meeting there were at least two Boone County Sheriff deputies present, but no confrontations occurred between the groups.
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