This Saturday, multiple groups of white nationalists who rallied in Shelbyville, Tennessee, were met by police forces, as well as dozens of counterprotesters. According to CNN, the second rally of the day, planned for nearby Murfreesboro, was canceled.
The “White Lives Matter” rally, as the organizers called it, was planned by a Southern nationalist group, going by the name of The League of the South. However, they weren’t the only ones expected to be present at the rally, since other extreme-right and neo-Nazi groups joined them in the protest, wearing black, as well as bearing helmets and shields.
Multiple locations were targeted
The march was supposed to start at Shelbyville, then continue all the way to Murfreesboro, about 20 miles. Eventually, the second part was cancelled, according to Brad Griffin, the organization’s public relations chief.
According to multiple sources, almost 1,000 counterprotesters had gathered in Murfreesboro, in order to oppose the demonstrators.
In both cities targeted by the nationalist organization, police took measures, by setting up barricades, in an attempt to separate the two factions on opposite sides of the road. People were also advised to avoid the areas targeted by the rally, so the surroundings of the Shelbyville event were nearly deserted.
But why these specific locations?
The organizations decided to hold these rallies in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, both situated in central Tennessee, due to familiarity, city demographics and, of course, several prominent local news stories.
Back in 2013, the League of the South also held a rally in Shelbyville, in order to bring attention to refugee resettlement in that zone. Everything went ok, without any incidents, so the organizers trust the local law enforcement to protect them again, in 2017.