ZOAR, Ohio (AP) — Representatives of an Ohio organization planning a Civil War reenactment said they have been meeting with police to discuss safety concerns about next month's event after the deadly rally and protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Members of the Zoar Community Association have been meeting with police in Bolivar, which provides police protection to the village of Zoar, to discuss the reenactment Sept. 9 and 10, The New Philadelphia Times-Reporter has reported (http://bit.ly/2v9q2JI)
The Zoar Community Association has been meeting with the Bolivar Police Department ahead of their Civil War event held every two years. It's expected to draw 1,000 participants and several thousand visitors.
Megan Clevenger, a coordinator for the association, said they want to "make sure the Civil War festival is safe and fun for everyone this year."
Bolivar police provide protection to the tiny village of Zoar, which has a population of less than 200 people. Bolivar Police Chief Randall Haugh said he is concerned about groups deciding to protest at the event. Haugh said police wouldn't be able to arrest people expressing their First Amendment rights.
Association President Jon Elsasser said the group had never considered cancelling the event, "because we look at it from a historical perspective." He the event should not be seen as glorifying the Confederacy.
"We're re-enacting the battle of Antietam, which the North won," he said.
The Battle of Antietam was the most violent single-day battle in U.S. history with over 22,000 dead, wounded or missing.
Zoar is about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Cleveland.