Protesters rally in Binghamton after restaurant owners accused online of sexual assault

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A protester in Binghamton holds a sign reading, "We believe you. We support you. You are not alone!" (Sarah Gager/WSKG)

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — More than 100 protesters rallied in Binghamton Saturday night, after allegations surfaced online, accusing some downtown business owners of sexual assault.

 

“This is because some girls were raped inside these buildings,” said Karen Inman, standing outside of The Colonial. “That’s not right. I want it shut down. They’re not going to open up again if I have my way.”

According to the Press and Sun Bulletin, the Binghamton police opened an investigation and encourage anyone with information to come forward.

Destroying a business before proven guilty

Where The Colonial and Dos Rios Cantina on Court Street usually have seating for outdoor dining, a crowd of protestors packed the sidewalks. The restaurants were closed, as was Stone Fox, which is also affiliated.

Some driving by honked their horns in support. But one woman sitting in the passenger seat of a car questioned the protestors. She said there is two sides to every story, to which someone in the crowd responded, “not this one.”

The woman did not give her name. But John Tokos, the man driving, said the protestors were destroying a business before anyone was proven guilty.

“Those ‘faceless’ claims are real faces”

The crowd moved into the street as police closed it off to traffic. Carrying signs with hand-painted messages like, “Those ‘faceless’ claims are real faces” and “15!” in reference to the number of alleged victims, the crowd moved beyond the police line and turned down State Street, a popular street for student night life, and then turned again onto Hawley Street.

The crowd marched past the Stone Fox restaurant, which shares owners with the other two restaurants, and to a hookah bar called XTASY Lounge. The hookah bar was the only one of the four establishments that was open. Protestors went inside to chant, some stood on tables. The staff locked the doors behind the protestors when they left.

The accusations were initially raised on social media in a private Facebook group, who organized the protest and has been calling for a boycott of the establishments. The group has over 13,000 members.

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