Memphis cops wary of ‘powder kegs’ during Ku Klux Klan rally

By Arturo Garcia
Friday, March 29, 2013 23:01 EDT
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Memphis prepares for KKK rally
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A large portion of downtown Memphis, Tennessee, will be locked down Saturday to avoid hostilities during a rally organized by the Ku Klux Klan.

WMC-TV reported on Friday that pedestrian, commercial and auto traffic will be diverted around the area surrounding the Shelby County courthouse, where the rally is scheduled to be held.

The only people allowed inside will be klan members and participants in an opposing rally organized by a local civic group, Power to the People, and all of them will have to go through a security checkpoint.

Organizers of the “white unity event” said it will be a response to the Memphis City Council’s decision in February 2013 to rename local parks named after Confederate figures Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Confederacy itself. They also said they expect Klansmen to be bused in from several other states.

The Associated Press reported that the increased security reflects officials’ hope of avoiding a repeat of the scene during a 1998 klan rally, which turned into a brawl that led to the arrest of 20 people. This year, authorities said, they are accounting for not only klan members and other white-supremacy groups, but members of the city’s local gangs who may want to disrupt the event.

“We have a lot of potential powder kegs,” said Police Director Toney Armstrong.

Watch WMC’s report on the city’s preparation for the Klan, aired on March 29, 2013, below.

Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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