White nationalists were greatly outnumbered by counterprotesters Saturday during a “White Lives Matter” rally in Shelbyville and decided to cancel a second rally in Murfreesboro, the USA Today Network Tennessee reports. Law enforcement in both cities made painstaking efforts to keep the groups separate. Officials said the events had been largely peaceful. About 160 white nationalists, led by the League of the South, descended on Shelbyville to hear speeches from group leaders Saturday morning. At several points they were drowned out by more than 400 counterprotesters across the street, who sang, chanted and played Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech over a loudspeaker. Kat Chambers of Jackson, Ms., drove six hours to join the counterprotesters. “I don’t want Nazis on the street of my country, not my state, not your state,” she said.
White nationalists had said the Tennessee events were intended to protest an influx of refugees. Thor Henderson, a grand officer in Georgia for the International Keystone Knights, a Ku Klux Klan group, said he was marching to bring awareness to the September shooting at an Antioch church. One woman was killed and seven others were injured in the church shooting; the suspect, Emanuel Kidega Samson, is a legal U.S. resident from Sudan. Law enforcement from across the state collaborated with Shelbyville police to oversee the rally. Barriers kept the groups on sidewalks at opposite sides of a four-lane road while officers watched from the median.