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Gainesville officials satisfied with response to Richard Spencer rally

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Leading up to Richard Spencer’s arrival at the University of Florida, many were fearful of how the rally would turn out.

Officials say they recognized what would and would not work in this situation after studying the violent protests in Charlottesville.

“We’re going to look at other areas that had events such as this,” said Ben Tobias, Gainesville Police Department Spokesman. “And we’re going to see what worked for them and what didn’t and base our response on things that may have happened there and things we think may happen here.”

Some protestors took the same approach by standing up for what they believed in, but made sure to stay grounded in heated situations.

“We had complete unknowns in regards to the numbers of peoples there may be coming into our area, and what their intent would be,” said Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell. “So it took a great deal of courage and preparation to try and anticipate everything.”

“Unity and togetherness was the winner yesterday,” said Alachua County Chairman Ken Cornell. “It is our citizens that stood up, stood strong and spoke out against hate yesterday.”

Just as many protestors shouted yesterday, it seemed that love won.

“The message was sent clearly that Florida is a hard state,” Darnell said. “It’s a hard state and it’s not to bring your issues, whatever they may be, of intentional harm to anyone. We will not tolerate that.”

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