Jena braces for white supremacist rally on MLK Day
Jena, Louisana, which became a byword for racial tension when six black high school students were charged with beating a white schoolmate after a series of incidents that began when a noose was hunt from a tree at the school, is set to be the scene of fresh confrontations.
A white supremacist group, the Nationalist Movement, plans to demonstrate there on the holiday commemorating Martin Luther King's birthday to demand the elimination of the holiday and of all civil rights laws. Counter-demonstrations are planned by the New Black Panthers and other civil rights groups.
The Nationalist Movement received permission for its rally only after filing a lawsuit against a town ordinance which would have required it to agree to pay for any damages resulting from the rally, refrain from carrying guns, and place a $10,000 bond.
Raymond Brown of the National Action Network, an organizer of the counter-protest, told reporters that he supported the Nationalist Movement's freedom of speech, saying, "They can march, but we are opposed to their reasons for marching and their ideologies."
"God called us to love each other equally," Brown stated. "When we look in the eyes of God, we can't see color. But these guys, all they see is race."
The town's primary Martin Luther King Day events were held on Sunday to minimize the possibility of conflict. Although the Nationalists have promised to leave their guns at home, Jena is still preparing for the the possibility of violence by bringing in extra police and setting up barricades around the courthouse.
This video is from CNN's American Morning, MSNBC's Morning Joe, and Fox's Fox & Friends broadcast January 21, 2008.