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Tennessee denies protest permits; activists will confront white supremacist conference

By Preston Gilmore |
April 4, 2013
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Dickson, TN – The state of Tennessee has denied several permit applications for demonstrations and protests against a white supremacist organization that plans to hold a major conference at a park in Dickson County, Tennessee on the weekend of April 5-7. Regardless of the state's efforts to suppress free speech and promote white supremacists, community organizers and students, including Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), will converge on Montgomery Bell Park on the weekend of April 5-7 to demand that the park not host the racist conference.

This is the second year in a row that this white supremacist group has been hosted by the Montgomery Bell Park. This year's speakers and former speakers at the American Renaissance (AmRen) white supremacist conference include the Ku Klux Klan, holocaust deniers, neo-nazis, anti-immigration activists and other racists and fascists. This conference comes just a week after the Ku Klux Klan held a rally on the courthouse steps in Memphis that was met with a large anti-Klan protest that was suppressed by police.

Organizers submitted several requests for permits to hold public demonstrations against white supremacy at Montgomery Bell. However, these requests were repeatedly denied by Montgomery Bell Park Manager Pat Wright and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which has jurisdiction over all Tennessee state parks.

SDS member Julia Casteel stated, “It is clear that the state stands solidly on the side of white supremacy. They granted a permit for a known white supremacist terrorist organization, AmRen, to hold their conference and they have repeatedly denied all of our permit requests to protest racist attacks on our park. We will converge on Montgomery Bell Park on April 5 and 6 to defend our park against these attacks regardless of the state’s efforts to suppress free speech.”

Protesters will rally at 4 p.m. on Friday April 5 and again on 5 p.m. Saturday April 6 outside the Montgomery Bell Park Inn and Conference Center to demand, “Shut down AmRen!” On April 4 they will be delivering a petition with hundreds of signatures to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation demanding that the park not host the conference. For more information about the anti-AmRen actions go to: www.facebook.com/events/543463712354434/

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