Memphis Confederate statute removal peacefully protested

Lots of law enforcement officers were on hand for an organized protest against a Memphis City Council move that led to removing statutes of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, and Confederate cavalry General Nathan Bedford Forrest, reports the Commercial Appeal. But they didn’t have much to do except watch the peaceful proceedings.

The peaceful demonstrations involved a group of pro-Confederate protesters who drove around the city in a caravan of about 50 vehicles, according to city estimates. Meanwhile, a separate group of about a dozen people led by Arkansas white nationalist Billy Roper held a banner decrying diversity and sang an off-key rendition of Dixie inside an area cordoned off near Health Sciences Park.

Several Antifa protesters with black and red bandannas over their faces showed up on Union Avenue intending to protest Roper, but they were too late. Roper had already left.

Two other people who wanted to counter-protest against the Confederate supporters went to City Hall, but ended up throwing a Frisbee. Several people involved in previous Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Memphis were able to trail Roper’s group to their cars and document license plates, but there was little interaction between them.

Memphis police Director Michael Rallings said there were no arrests and no damage to property throughout the day.

…After coming together to pray, a group organized by the Facebook page Confederate 901 paraded in vehicles on the Interstate 240 loop for about 2 hours to show their displeasure about how the statues were taken down. The ride came to a halt at the Fillin Station Grille in Southaven, Mississippi, where more than 50 people — many in camouflage and body armor — whooped rebel yells surrounded by an assortment of Confederate flags.

The Memphis Flyer report focuses on Roper’s group:

The goal, he said, is to provoke state legislatures to censure the city administration, pursuing a lawsuit against what he said were actions done “surreptitiously and under darkness.”

Surrounding the protesters in a barricaded area near Union and Manassas were more than 30 police cars, dozens of officers, along with state reinforcement and city trucks blocking the entrance to the park.

Health Sciences Park, as well as Memphis Park were closed to the public on Saturday, as the city administration and the Memphis Police Department aimed to “keep the peace and ensure the safety of our citizens.”

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