Multiple arrested at KSU after demonstrators, counter-demonstrators gather for open carry walk

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KENT, Ohio -- Demonstrators exercised their first and second amendment rights at an open carry walk that sparked dialogue with counter-demonstrators and resulted in multiple arrests on Kent State University's campus Saturday.

Beginning at 2 p.m., demonstrators walked alongside recent Kent graduate Kaitlin Bennett, who became known as "gun girl" after a  photo of her carrying an AR-10 and her graduation cap went viral last May.

Bennett carried her AR-10 Saturday, while she marched with other demonstrators carrying their own semi-automatic weapons.

Bennett said the goal of the event was to create dialogue about campus carry and to ultimately change the university's concealed carry policy.

Counter-demonstrators also attended the walk, expressing their opposition to Bennett's agenda.  The counter-demonstrators were not affiliated with any particular group.

And, when asked what their agenda was, some counter-demonstrators told Fox 8 they did not know why they were attending.

Kent State University President Beverly Warren reiterated the university's non-affiliation with both groups.

Warren said, "We anticipated that this day might present some challenges as opposing sides groups from the outside came to our campus to exercise their freedoms to assemble and be heard. I want to reiterate that Kent State University did not sponsor these events, nor did we endorse any of the groups who were here on our campus today."

This came after the university had increased security for the event.

Kent State University President Beverly Warren said, "We put out a call for mutual aid and the response was simply overwhelming. The work of law enforcement here today was exemplary. I want to thank them for their service and for keeping Kent State University -- our students, faculty and staff and our visitors safe."

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, troopers from across the state attended the walk per the request of the university.  Troopers were sent from posts in Columbus, Toledo, Warren, Lima and other areas throughout Ohio to assist.

OSHP initially told Fox 8 that Kent State University police arrested five individuals at the open carry walk Saturday.  However, police later said that only four people were arrested. All people were reportedly arrested for disorderly conduct and one of those arrested was also charged for assault of a police officer.

Police have not yet released names or any other information regarding these arrests.

The Metro Swat team also assisted KSU police, according to OSHP.  Officials said that KSU reached out for additional enforcement in effort to keep things from escalating.

At 5:35 p.m. the university announced via Twitter that the demonstration had cleared the campus and normal activities had resumed.

Although there were tense interactions between the demonstrators and counter-demonstrators, officials say that overall things stayed relatively controlled with little physical or violent confrontation.

"Today's events concluded with minimal violence and injury and no damage to the university property," said Warren.

You can watch the university's full press conference on Facebook, here.

Continuing coverage, here.

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