One of the leaders of the "White Lives Matter" group says a rally scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Murfreesboro has been "canceled."
Hunter Wallace, who identifies himself as the public relations chief for the League of the South, said he had learned the rally was "a lawsuit trap" and "not worth the risk."
The group apparently gathered at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill after the rally in Shelbyville earlier in the day.
The white supremacist rally in Murfreesboro had been scheduled to begin in the town square at 1:30 p.m. Several hundred counter-protesters had already gathered in the area.
The City of Murfreesboro reported that there were no injuries and no damages on the square in Murfreesboro, the site of the planned protest.
The city said there were between 800 and 1,000 counter-protesters gathered at the square when it was learned that The League of the South, the event organizers, were not going to show.
"We are relieved everyone was safe and the downtown area was protected," Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Murfreesboro Interim Police Chief Michael Bowen said in a joint statement.
Murfreesboro City Manager Rob Lyons said in light of the League of the South's decision not to attend, #MurfreesboroLoves concluded its event. Barfield Crescent Park will remain closed until Sunday.
Fencing was installed around the center of the square to keep the demonstrators and counter-protesters separated. Barriers were also set up to keep traffic away from the area.
Businesses in and around the town square were closed for the day, and many businesses boarded windows and entrances with messages of love and inclusion.
At least one person was arrested during the white nationalist rally in Shelbyville on Saturday morning.
Bedford County Sheriff Austin Swing confirmed that the man was arrested but did not give details about his charges.
The man's father told News 4 his son was there supporting the counter-protesters and is a civil rights activist. He said his son, Jack Anderson, was detained for several hours but has been released after getting into a scuffle with the white nationalists.
Hundreds of white nationalists and counter-protesters showed up at the rally in Shelbyville. For the most part, the event remained peaceful.
The rally was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. but didn't get underway until around 11:30 a.m. and ended around 1 p.m.
The Shelbyville city manager released this statement about the rally:Earlier today, the scheduled sidewalk rally took place in our great community with both protesters and counter-protesters exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly. City administration, law enforcement, fire, emergency personnel and public works, along with other responding agencies, had planned extensively in preparation for this rally. The positive outcome of this rally is a product of that extensive planning, along with the ability to keep the group separated.
The safety measures that were put into place, along with the enforcement of local, state and federal laws, ensured that this rally was not one of violence. Our law enforcement personnel, fire and emergency responding agencies responded with professionalism and confidence. They enforced laws as needed, all the while protecting the public and property. They should be commended for their service and dedication to the community. We are proud of our community and those who helped protect it.
The city would like to express appreciation for the patience and support shown by our great citizens of Shelbyville and all responding agencies who assisted in efforts to provide public safety.
Protesters and counter-protesters went through a lengthy security screening process before being allowed into the event area.
The white supremacist group and the counter-protesters were kept in designated areas across the street from each other.
Shelbyville police closed down two streets and multiple intersections for the rally. Click here for more information.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn issued this statement on Friday about the rallies:The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will be taking preparatory cautions in light of the upcoming protest rallies planned in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville and will closely monitor the situation, given how similar events have recently unfolded in our country.
Our agency stands ready to support and aid law enforcement in any manner necessary. Over the weekend, TBI presence will be visible as a show of force and support for local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to protect their communities from any possible acts of violence that may result.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I urge those in attendance - regardless of their position on these issues - to conduct themselves in an orderly, respectful fashion for the sake of safety during this weekend's events.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander: released this statement about the rallies:While the Constitution gives everyone the right to assemble, the Constitution makes it absolutely clear that we are all Americans without regard to race. The views of the white nationalists, Nazis, white supremacists and the Klan are wrong, they are un-American, they are not welcome, and we need to be loud and clear about that.Important links:Road closure information for Murfreesboro List of prohibited items at Murfreesboro rally Murfreesboro events canceled ahead of rally Road closure information for Shelbyville Video with information from Shelbyville city officials
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