White Nationalists will descend on Murfreesboro and Shelbyville on Saturday, October 28, in what they say is a protest against refugee resettlement largely because of the Antioch church shooting where a Sudanese immigrant is charged with killing one woman and shooting six others.
Rutherford County officials are still reviewing the League of the South’s application for a permit, but city spokesman Mike Browning said: “Groups and citizens do have a constitutional right of freedom of expression on the Public Square. The city and county are committed to both the Constitution and public safety.”
The League of the South is one of the same groups that protested in Charlottesville, Virginia where three people died, including a counter-protester who was struck by a car and two Virginia State Patrol offers. They will be joined by The National Socialist Movement and the Traditionalist Workers Party.
The event is expected to be on the Murfreesboro Square sometime after 1 pm.
In a statement, downtown businesses say they will close in order to “show outsiders there is no desire to encourage hate.”
Police representatives say that they “are keeping motorized traffic from the area by cordoning off all entrances to the city starting at Broad, and comparable distances from all other entrances to the historic district.”
Also, law enforcement says they have other plans that will not be covered by media reports, in place to maintain peace.
Area congregations are uniting at 6 pm, October 27, for a One Community Prayer Vigil that’s being held at First Baptist Church at 200 East Main Street.
On the day of the event, many groups are meeting in counter protest. ‘Murfreesboro Loves’ will be hosting a non-religious and non-partisan event scheduled for Barfield Park from 4-6 pm to “provide people an opportunity to counter those outside organizations with the message of accepting people.”
Expected to join Murfreesboro Loves in counter protest are: members of the Rutherford County Democratic Party, Cold Patrol, Murfreesboro Muslim Youth, Rutherford County Interfaith Council, and Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment.
“The most important thing is safety. We want them to come out and say these people do not speak for our community, but we want to do it in a safe way because there’s just too much at risk, and especially after Charlottesville,” said Matt Ferry, chairman of the local Democratic Party.