Confederate 901 rally in Memphis remains peaceful

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A protest against the removal of the Confederate statues in Downtown Memphis happened Saturday.

The demonstrations, which included a small gathering and a ride around I-240 led by the Confederate 901 group, was originally supposed to be a rally

The protest remained peaceful and small, with police and media outnumbering the protesters.

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Confederate supporters and white nationalists were at the protest area near Health Sciences Park sending a message that taking down the two Confederate statues was wrong and illegal.

Memphis Police Department said that a permit to protest was never filed.

Protesters planned to go counterclockwise on the I-240 loop for two hours starting at noon Saturday.

Police from various municipalities, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, were on hand to contain the protest ride.

"We all work very closely together. We will enforce the law. We will keep our community safe. We have an adequate amount of officers," Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said. "I can reassure you that our partners and the Memphis Police Department are well prepared to deal with whatever comes up."

The four streets bordering Health Science Park were closed in anticipation for protesters. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center was also closed Saturday due to the protest. The city provided dump trucks to serve as barriers in case any protesters decided to use their vehicle as a weapon.

"We just saw it in New York about a month ago where people have used vehicles as weapons, and again, we want to make sure we plan for any contingency," Rallings said.

City leaders urged residents to avoid the areas of the Confederate statues, and use caution on I-240.

"I just want our citizens to know that law enforcement in West Tennessee and throughout the state are dedicated to your safety," Rallings said.

The TBI said the amount of agents deployed to Memphis today was "unprecedented" but added they were more than happy to help.

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