Across Tennessee, counterprotesters prepare for 'White Lives Matter' rally

Across Tennessee, counterprotesters prepare for 'White Lives Matter' rally

October 12th, 2017 by The Tennessean in Breaking News

In this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, photo, white nationalist demonstrators clash with counter demonstrators at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va. President Donald Trump on Aug. 15, defended his response to Saturday’s racially-charged protests in Charlottesville in a winding, combative exchange with reporters that at times mischaracterized the message and purpose of event. In his remarks, Trump described the rally as largely a debate over removal of a Confederate monument, although organizers billed the rally as push back against the “anti-white climate.” Trump also misstated his levels of political support in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Almost as soon as an alliance of white nationalist groups announced it was planning to hold a rally this month in Shelbyville, opposing activists across Tennessee sprang into action.

On the heels of a similar demonstration that turned violent and deadly two months ago in Charlottesville, Va., they're at work mobilizing counterprotesters to stand in opposition to members of Nationalist Front, which will hold a "White Lives Matter" rally Oct. 28 in Shelbyville, and has applied for a permit to do so later that day in Murfreesboro.

"I think we can affect the national discourse for this, but I also think in Shelbyville, for the minorities, for the people of color and the Jews, this is going to be a chance to say, 'It's not the 1950s anymore,'" said Chris Irwin, a Knoxville-based attorney aligned with the Tennessee Anti-Racist Network.

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Violence in Charlottesville, Va.