For the second time this past week, a protest that had been canceled by the organizer because of looting fears managed to draw a significant following.
It is not uncommon for protesters to line Coastal Highway outside of Rehoboth at least once each summer. But what is unusual about Friday’s protest was that it managed to draw about 500 participants at its peak. That is about five times the previous Coastal Highway rallies sponsored by the Progressive Democrats of Sussex County in 2018 and 2019.
This protest was to start at 4 p.m. and grew to more than 400 participants in about 20 minutes as many arrived early. The group peaked at around 500 around 5 p.m. The line of protesters stretched from the County Bank all the way to the entrance to Sea Air Village.
A few stragglers remained past 9 p.m. Police were out in force with state troopers and other law enforcers standing watch along Coastal Highway and also on Rehoboth Avenue into downtown Rehoboth.
This was also the second time this past week that the Tanger Outlets closed early and were transformed into a guarded fortress surrounded by police and massive temporary concrete barriers like one might expect around a federal building in Washington, D.C.
Among the participants was Ben from Lewes. He was grateful to see so much support. It is “good to see as many people out here and all the people honking,” he said in regard to the passing motorists who frequently showed their solidarity by honking their horns.
Further down the line, Kitty Harmon Prettyman held her sign: Demanding equality does not make me a terrorist! “I am so sick of protesters being locked-in with these terrorists and troublemakers and looters,” Prettyman pointed out. “That is not who we are. That is not what we want. We want justice, not just for him, but for all black men, women and children who have been systematically murdered since coming to this country,” she said.
Prettyman would like to see a constructive open dialog without the fear of creating hostility. “Today is about trying to bring everybody together,” she pointed out. “We are trying to get awareness going on out here. We want everybody listening even if you don’t agree with it… We need a dialog… without yelling and screaming. We need to get talking without people getting upset,” she added.
Shay Lorschrecengost from Milton said he was protesting to try and make a change. “If you do not do anything you are just as bad. If I were to sit at home and watch the news, I would be just as guilty,” he added.
“We would like people to know that there are young, middling, and old people here all standing for justice,” said Pat from Alexandria, Virginia who has a beach home in Bethany. We need justice and we need change and it needs to come from the top-down,” she said.