City asks Memphians to avoid Confederate events this weekend

The statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from its pedestal at 9:01 p.m. Wednesday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man who said he is a spokesperson for the group Confederate 901 said a planned rally Saturday to protest the removal of two Confederate monuments in Memphis has been changed to a ride.

Meanwhile, the city is urging Memphians to avoid any demonstrations on Saturday.

“We respect the right of free assembly and free speech, and we will continue to do that as it related to the potential for demonstrations in Memphis this Saturday,” city spokeswoman Ursula Madden said Wednesday.

“We are continually monitoring the situation and 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.”

The ride is to support Confederate heritage. It is unclear if the “ride” will be on motorcycles or in vehicles or both. It has not yet been determined where the ride will begin.

Initially Confederate 901 posted about a planned demonstration Saturday starting at the Tennessee Welcome Center on Riverside Drive.

However on Wednesday the spokesperson told WREG  they received word of various groups they did not want to be associated with coming to the Bluff City to participate.

The spokesperson also said they wanted to peacefully protest and did not want anything to become violent, out of control or promoting hate.

He said if there is any kind of rally it is not associated with Confederate 901.

A spokesman for Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has been an outspoken opponent of the statues’ removal, has also disavowed any involvement with protests Saturday.

Confederate 901 organizers have said they were denied a permit for assembly on public property, However, the city said the group has not applied for a permit.