VOL. 133 | NO. 4 | Thursday, January 4, 2018
City Hall Urges Memphians To Avoid Saturday Demonstrations
By Bill Dries
The city administration is urging Memphians to avoid demonstrations planned for Saturday, Jan. 6, against the removal last month of Confederate monuments in two city parks.
Several groups local and otherwise have posted on social media about different kinds of protests in the city. They range from a plan by the group Confederate 901 to have a car caravan at the Tennessee Welcome Center Downtown that goes past Memphis and Health Sciences Parks to a white nationalist group calling for a demonstration similar to the one in Charlottesville, Virginia last August that ended in violence that killed one person and included a torchlight march by alt-right groups.
“We respect the right of free assembly and free speech and we will continue to do that as it relates to the potential for demonstrations in Memphis this Saturday,” reads the statement from Memphis chief communications officer Ursula Madden. “We are continually monitoring the situation and are working with all partners to ensure public safety. The best way for the public to help us with that is simple. It’s for Memphians to stay away from the demonstrations. We’re strongly encouraging people to avoid sites like the Tennessee Welcome Center, Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park, Saturday.”
Following his New Year’s Day Prayer Breakfast, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said various agencies of the city including Memphis Police would be prepared for whatever demonstration take place Saturday. He also said the administration was coordinating the response across several parts of city government.