Anti-Racist Mobilizations Oppose Neo-Nazis in Middle Tennessee

Murfreesboro & Shelbyville, TN – Large demonstrations of hundreds of anti-racist protesters are expected on Saturday as two different white supremacist rallies are planned to take place in middle Tennessee the same day.

The ‘Nationalist Front’ has organized two different rallies under the banner of #WhiteLivesMatter, with rumors that they may use flash mob tactics in an attempt to frustrate antifascists organizing a coherent response. Neo-Nazi rallies are planned to take place in both Murfreesboro and Shelbyville on the same day; both are generally anticipated to be dwarfed in size by counter-demonstrations.

Watch livestream coverage of these events below:

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The Nationalist Front is a coalition formed in 2016 between overt Nazi groups such as the Traditionalist Worker Party, the National Socialist Movement, and Vanguard America, together with the pro-slavery and neo-Confederate League of the South. The same small group of men organizing the Nationalist Front events in Tennessee also held a rally earlier this year “for white working families” in Pikeville, Kentucky. Attendees of that event were outnumbered by hundreds of antifascists who came out to oppose them.

When he arrived in Pikeville on April 29, Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Worker Party spoke to our reporter candidly and unapologetically about details of his national socialist ideology:

Video we captured on the ground in Charlottesville, VA on August 12 also shows that the Nationalist Front contingent (led by Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Worker Party, Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement, and Michael Hill of the League of the South) was responsible for initiating the first major street fights during Unite The Right. They set into motion a chain of events that led to James Alex Fields, Jr. driving his car into marching protesters, injuring many and killing Heather Heyer. Fields had been seen marching earlier that day alongside members of the Nationalist Front group Vanguard America.

All of the above named Nationalist Front groups are named in a new lawsuit alleging they engaged in “illegal paramilitary activity” in Charlottesville on August 12.

The neo-Nazi group Anti-Communist Action (‘Anticom’ for short), while not officially a member of the Nationalist Front, has also signed onto the “white lives matter” event. Anticom’s self-styled leader, North Carolina college student Seth Vitco, is expected to speak at one or both of the hate rallies. Messages we published last week in the first part of our reporting on leaked Anticom chat logs show members discussing carrying out terrorist attacks “Boston bomber style” against antifascist protesters.

Local and state police are expected to be out in force and according to SURJ Nashville, law enforcement officials have expressed an intent to mostly focus their resources on policing anti-racist counter-protesters as opposed to the Nazi groups tied to recent acts of murder and attempted murder.

We will continue to follow this story and provide more information as it becomes available.

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