Protesters protesting the Pride Storytime event; County officials say “there was no disturbance inside the building”.

Wilmington, NC (WECT) – Several protesters show the Pine Valley branch of the New Hanover County Public Library during a Pride Storytime event on Tuesday, June 21.

The Pride Storytime features two children’s books, “Daddy and Daddy” and “Heather Has to Mommies,” and an activity for kids to make their own family picture frames.

A New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office release said protesters gathered outside a library before entering a building. A deputy was called to the library for unrest, and it says a sheriff’s office supervisor was standing outside the room where the storytime event was taking place to prevent protesters from entering.

“A Sheriff’s Office supervisor entered the library and positioned himself between the private reading room and the demonstrators. The supervisor instructed the demonstrators that they were not allowed to enter the room. Sheriff’s deputies never witnessed and Nor did any library staff report any protestor creating disturbance within the library or attempted to enter the private reading room. After reading, all the participants left the library without incident,” the NHCSO said in a statement. wrote in the release.

An NHCSO spokesperson later confirmed that the two men had an argument outside the library at around 5:17 pm. A woman was whistling a man’s face against the protesters. After several whistles, the man grabbed the whistle and pushed the woman’s hand. The woman then reached for her pepper spray and attempted to spray the man, but he pulled the pepper spray out of his hand and hit no one with the pepper spray. The public representatives spoke to both the persons and no further action was taken.

A statement from the county’s chief diversity and equity officer, Linda Thompson, also said no disturbances occurred inside the building. But, the statement differs from the account set out by the statement from the sheriff’s office. Thompson’s statement said protesters did not enter the building until the storytime event ended.

“Library staff worked closely with sheriff’s deputies throughout the event, and coordinated safety protocols ahead of time, as well as helping to ensure the safety of patrons and their ability to participate in activities without disruption.” for, as well as the public’s right to protest outside. Before and during the Storytime event, deputy and library staff worked to ensure that protesters were not blocking the library entrance so that Patrons could enter. And after the storytime program ended, several members of the protesting group wanted to come in. Anyone in public is allowed inside the building, as long as they are based on the library’s code of conduct Not actively protesting or harassing other patrons. The library director came in with him and the deputy made his way to Storytime’s door to ensure safety for the library’s patrons and staff, which is just now were also in the room. Members of the protesting group were not allowed into the closed room where the event was held and families were still inside, and there was no disturbance inside the building. Sheriff’s representatives and library staff also assisted parents and children who were still present (some had already left) to exit the library after the incident. The parents and children were not in danger at any time. The county celebrates all peoples, cultures, genders and gender identities and will continue to do so through our programs, programs and actions,” Thompson’s statement said.

Photos sent to WECT from parents and witnesses inside the library show protesters standing inside the library and outside the room. WECT has received several messages stating that a conflict occurred. Witnesses have also said that some of the protesters appear to be part of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group.

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