MEMPHIS, Tenn.— Memphis police stood at the gateway to Memphis armed and ready Saturday for whomever crossed into the city after leaders were warned that a Confederate group was planning to ride through the city in protest.
“We are going to be protesting in a peaceful manner, no white supremacy because that’s not what we align with. We don’t agree with those ideas whatsoever,” said the creator of the Confederate901 page, who asked to stay anonymous for safety reasons, said.
He says violence was never a part of the plan but as a precaution police tape went up before the group even rolled into the city and streets near where the statues once stood blocked off.
“We had people come in from Rhode Island, some from Colorado from Arkansas, Tennessee,” Confederate901 said.
On Facebook, the group mentioned different meeting spots, all of which MPD made sure to be prepared and awaiting the group’s arrival.
With the city on high alert, Confederate901 took their ride to the highway.
“Did a ride, we rode around 240 loop for almost two hours,” Confederate901 said.
In the Medical District near the park where the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue was removed more radical protestors stood with signs.
According to Confederate901, that group didn’t show up with them.
Counter protestors challenged the group’s reason for even coming to Memphis, to which the group responded the removal of the statues desecrated a burial site and that’s what brought them out.
“What they did is criminal,” Confederate901 said.
“I think the city council should be in handcuffs sitting at 201 Poplar right now.”
Ernest Jones came out to see what all the fuss was about.
“I came out to see if it was going to be a great thing or a bad thing,” Jones said.
“What I expected was a lot of flags being held, vulgar language but I don’t see it,” Jones said.
He says people can express their opinion even if he doesn’t agree.
“You know they have they have the right to come here and I just want to ask questions and see whats going on,” Jones said.
For now, the group says they are done cruising the streets of Memphis but they aren’t done fighting to bring the statues back.
“We aren’t going to stop until we see someone held accountable,” Confederate901 said.