BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — The Bloomington Community Farmers Market is shutting down for the next two Saturdays over safety concerns arising from alleged ties between a market vendor and white nationalism, the city announced Monday night.
A city news release said “recent public discussion of ties between a vendor at the market and white nationalist causes and groups” led to increased safety threats. Issues have been ongoing at the farmers market since at least June.
“Unfortunately, escalation of tension and conflict at the market over the past weeks, and information gathered identifying threats of specific individuals with connections to past white nationalist violence, present the potential for future clashes,” the news release issued Monday said.
Police officers on Saturday escorted a 40-year-old Bloomington woman from the farmers market after she carried a sign protesting white supremacy in front of a market vendor’s booth, according to the Herald-Times online and Facebook posts of the incident. Police said the woman did not comply with requests that she move to the market’s designated protest area.
The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office has said it is not pursuing a criminal trespass charge.
The city had increased safety patrols and staff at the market as a result of the issues involving the market vendor in recent weeks.
A group called No Space for Hate had planned a Saturday morning rally at the farmers market.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton will have a news conference Wednesday morning to address the temporary closing of the farmers market.
“As Mayor, I have spoken for our City to condemn white nationalism and white supremacists as a scourge on our country and our community, and to promise that we will do all we can to overcome their legacies and any current efforts. We also want to assure that everyone knows that all are welcome in our inclusive Bloomington, and that our Farmers’ Market will embody those values of inclusion and welcoming, as well as be a safe space for all to gather, as our community expects every Saturday.”
“In light of recommendations from our local public safety officials, advice from national experts, and awareness of recent tragic incidents of violence at similar public gatherings, we are hitting the pause button to protect public safety in Bloomington.”
“We will be gathering with a wide range of local folks to identify how best our community embodies our values of justice and inclusion, and protects our treasure of the Farmers’ Market.”Bloomington, Indiana, Mayor John Hamilton on July 29, 2019