The corners of Lane Parkway and Cannon Boulevard in Shelbyville look like the set for a military movie. Armored personnel carriers, numerous lines of police officers clad in riot gear carrying high-powered weaponry. Officers from Bedford County, Winchester, Fayetteville and more participate in drills on the block, while they await the oncoming event.
Oracle staff members arrive in Shelbyville just before dawn. Greeted by blistering wind, cutting rain and the impending arrival of white supremacists. Once the sun rises, the scene still remains grey and overcast. Never warming up for those who’ve chosen to attend. Every street is barricaded, with cops turning away those who have entered uncoordinated zones.
A comment on the “White Lives Matter” rally occurring turned into a flurry of liability paperwork and strategic planning for a trip to the sleepy town of Shelbyville.
The rally was sponsored by the Nationalist Front, an umbrella group composed of organizations, such as the League of the South, Traditionalist Worker Party, and the National Socialist Movement.
The “White Lives Matter” rally was set to begin at 10 a.m., but as of 9:20, you could only see a few counter protesters and hear even less, over the audible whirring of the law enforcement helicopters and drones.
From 9:30 a.m. onward, the air seemed tense as the white supremacists had yet to arrive past the second checkpoint, but police, in riot gear, began marching teams in positions. Counter protesters ask mockingly over a megaphone, “Where are you?”
At 10:26 a.m., movement appears to occur at the protestors first checkpoint, but in the next two minutes, only seven protestors entered the cordoned off section. Counter protestors ask, “Where are your people Nazis?”
The only visible crowd from the press pool until 11:20, is a gathering of shields, signs and helmets accumulating mass but awaiting each member until they march as one into the cordoned-off area allotted to the white supremacists, as Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech emits from the counter protestors’ loud speakers.
The next hour is a flurry of rhetoric and vitriol from the white supremacist leaders, mostly unprintable.
“Your days are numbered. We will not be replaced. All you people over there, your day is coming. It is coming. We are a Christian people and you are communists,” Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, directed toward counter protestors.
Once again, the mocking of the counter protestors continues, as La Bamba screams from a loud speaker, drowning out the racial epithets. The white supremacists are outnumbered by the counter protestors and appear angered. The air seems to have calmed down, as the counter protestors seemed unfazed, by mockingly offering the white supremacists “free genetic testing.” One counter protestor who tried to hop the restrictive barriers was arrested for disorderly conduct,
After the first rally in Shelbyville concluded, the second rally, scheduled at 1 p.m. in Murfreesboro, was cancelled via twitter.
“Murfreesboro Cancelled. Had some intel Murfreesboro was a lawsuit trap. Not worth the risk,” Hunter Wallace, a white supremacist organizer, tweeted. However, Wallace appears to later claim that this was their “plan all along.”
On social media, white supremacists claim to have succeeded in fulfilling their goals on the day; however, they were vastly outnumbered in Shelbyville, and failed to appear in Murfreesboro. There is also a video that has been posted online of a biracial couple from Brentwood having an altercation with white supremacists including Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Workers Party. The Caucasian woman from the couple left the altercation bloody. The white supremacists claim they were provoked and “de-escalated” the altercation.