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Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2017 03:00 AM

Updated: Thursday, August 24, 2017 03:00 AM

Protests Planned In Knoxville Saturday Over Confederate Monument Near Fort Sanders

KNOXVILLE - Nearly two weeks after the death of a counter protester at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., activists in Tennessee are gearing up to protest and counterprotest the possible removal of a Fort Sanders monument.

Rallies that are being billed by some as right wing or white supremacist are being planned for Knoxville, as well as in other locations like San Francisco and Berkeley, California.

Confederate Monument Protest

The City of Knoxville's communications and government relations director said the event is locally organized and that there are no indications yet that white supremacist groups from outside Knoxville will attend Saturday's rally. However, the Facebook event listing shows members of the newly reformed local white nationalist group Confederate 28 along with other members of local affiliate groups plan to protest Saturday.

The majority of protesters unaffiliated with these groups have said they plan on protesting the removal on other grounds such as preserving history.

Mayor Burchett Reacts

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett released a statement Wednesday ahead of the protest, saying the white supremacists aren't welcome.

“As out-of-town white supremacists and neo-Nazis head toward East Tennessee, I ask everyone of faith to pray for the safety and well-being of our community, our law enforcement and everyone involved, and for the healing of our nation," Burchett said. “The racism and hatred of these white supremacists and neo-Nazis don’t reflect our values, and they are not welcome here.”

In an interview with 10 News, Burchett elaborated on his statement.

"Any time that a group says that another group doesn't deserve the same rights as they have, I don't feel very welcoming to those kinds of people," Burchett said. "I really don't care what group it is that's out there, I just don't want a bunch of folks agitating or inciting violence in our community."

A cached version of the Confederate 28 Facebook page describes itself as "a brotherhood of nationalists seeking to defend Western Civilization and the Southern Culture" and had less than a dozen people stated to attend the protest. The page has been taken down as of Wednesday as Facebook continues to crack down on hate speech on its social media platform by banning white nationalist pages.

Confederate 28 is a Tennessee division of the UK-based neo-nazi organization "Blood and Honour," which derives its name from a motto in German used by Hitler youth movement, "Blut und Ehre."

The Facebook event for the protest was organized by Tom Pierce, the leader of another affiliated white nationalist organization known as the "South Knox Ten Milers."

Counterprotest

A counterprotest is planned on the same day, going under the name of “Knoxville against white supremacy.” The counter protest site calls the rally a “version of a KKK supremacy,” and asks marchers to show up in Fort Sanders and hour before the Confederate 28 event.

Kindness Rally

A Kindness Rally is set for 1 p.m. in the Krutch Park Extension of downtown Knoxville. The rally is intended to give people who seek an outlet to express support for their fellow Knoxvillians a peaceful, safeand supportive place to gather.

Tyson House at UT Knoxville will also offer a place of peace and healing. Their common room and chapel will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Throughout the day Tyson House will be offering prayer on the hour as well as have clergy on-hand for personal counsel and prayer. Water and snacks will be available.

 

 

 

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