MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The leader of a white supremacist group was undeterred Thursday in his intent to hold a conference in the Mid-South.
During a news conference on a public right-of-way near I-40 and Sycamore view, with Memphis police intent on keeping the peace standing in the background, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke announced a shift in plans for he new group's weekend event.
"We have now secured another location," Duke said. "Another venue."
The announcement came just days after the Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center in Olive Branch canceled Duke's EURO American conference after public outcry and a number of threats.
Duke said the new location - somewhere in Mississippi - will be kept a secret.
"We are not going to inform the public of this conference," he said. "We will inform our conference guests right before the event, and we will carpool together to the conference site."
Duke said he still expects hundreds of attendees despite the change in plans, and the wish of many that his group find another place to preach its beliefs.
"People have had pre-paid flights, obviously, into Memphis, and we're certainly not going to disappoint them and not have a meeting," he said.
Memphis police spent much of Thursday on alert about the conference. Early in the morning, they received a tip that EURO planned to hold a press conference on Main Street near the federal building.
Uniformed patrol officers, undercover officers, and other swarmed downtown in a pre-emptive effort to keep the peace in case something happened.
Duke remained firm in his group's intent to hold it's conference and express its beliefs locally.
"We have the right to express them in Memphis, Tennessee, New Orleans, or Chicago, or anywhere else in this country," he said.