2017 Pikeville protests

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The 2017 Pikeville protests were a series of rallies and counterprotests between white nationalist organizations such as the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Workers Party, and the National Front; along with far-left opposition.[1][2][3] The protests occurred in Pikeville, Kentucky, with the rally occurred on the 100th day of Trump's presidency.

Although compared to the 2017 Berkeley protests, it is noted for support of white nationalist ideology as the main theme, instead of support for Donald Trump.[1][3][4]

Background

Various white nationalist, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi organizations planned a rally to gain support for their ideology. This is due to the fact that the town of Pikeville, Kentucky is 98% white, along with the town voting overwhelmingly for President Trump in the 2016 election. According to the organizations involved, the purpose was to "attract white working families and build a mainstream political movement" in the United States. It was reported that in the rallies, some participants would carry AR-15 rifles and wear body armor for the event. The event was supposed to highlight "white working families" and bringing attention to changing demographics in the United States, with whites projected to be a minority within 3 decades, with hope that it could be used for recruitment.[5][4][6]

Due to the possibly of large-scale violence breaking out, the town passed an emergency ordinance banning masks and hoods in the area around the rally, in an attempt to stop large-scale fighting from occurring. The ordinance was aimed at ANTIFA. Later, it was credited as likely preventing any large-scale cases of physical assaults and violence from taking place between white nationalist and ANTIFA protesters.[6] In an attempt to warn the citizens of Pikeville of possible fighting, the University of Pikeville President Burton Webb posted a statement to parents, writing that "several reputable sources" consider the Traditionalist Worker Party to be a "Neo-Nazi organization that has a strongly racist platform."[7] UPIKE urged parents to consider having students and parents leave town, due to the threat of possible large-scale rioting and violence.[8]

The event was overwhelmingly condemned by the Kentucky Senate, with a unanimous voice vote saying that it did not reflect the values of Kentucky residents.[2][9]

Speech and aftermath

The rally was considered generally peaceful, but with at least one arrest.[10]

Brad Griffin of League of the South criticized anti-fascist protesters, stating, "Everybody's has the right of free speech and free assembly and to be from violent intimidation. That is why the League of the South is here today..."[11] The event reached an overwhelmingly negative reception from local residents, with most of the people attending being protesters instead of supporters.[11]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Pikeville, Kentucky, Is Bracing For A Clash Between The Far Left And The Far Right" (in en). BuzzFeed. https://www.buzzfeed.com/blakemontgomery/pikeville-rallies. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Pikeville passes emergency law banning masks ahead of white nationalist rally" (in en). kentucky. http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article147174224.html. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Alt-Right White Supremacists Set To Clash With Far Left In Tiny Kentucky Town - SFGate". http://www.sfgate.com/news/media/Alt-Right-White-Supremacists-Set-To-Clash-With-851864.php. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "With Trump in power, white-power groups trying to build alliances - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/04/29/with-trump-power-white-power-groups-trying-build-alliances/TWBhYFbyRaozMGnlCN6xIM/story.html. 
  5. Beckett, Lois (2017-04-29). "Armed neo-Nazis prepare for potential clash in small Kentucky town" (in en-GB). The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/29/neo-nazi-rally-pikeville-kentucky-anti-fascist. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Armed Nazis Descend On Tiny Kentucky Town" (in en-US). Vocativ. 2017-04-29. http://www.vocativ.com/425546/armed-nazis-descend-on-tiny-kentucky-town/. 
  7. "Residents told to avoid Ky. town over white nationalist, counter rallies" (in en). USA TODAY. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/29/residents-told-avoid-ky-town-over-white-nationalist-counter-rallies/101067612/. 
  8. "UPike to parents: Consider asking students to leave as white nationalists rally" (in en). kentucky. http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article147418969.html. 
  9. Service, RONNIE ELLIS CNHI News. "Senate unanimously opposes white nationalist rally" (in en). The Independent Online. http://www.dailyindependent.com/news/senate-unanimously-opposes-white-nationalist-rally/article_c0ee60d0-f307-11e6-a2ed-372fbe60d207.html. 
  10. "Hardly peaceful, but no violence as white nationalists, protesters yell in Pikeville" (in en). kentucky. http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article147594424.html. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Supporters, Crowd Of Protesters Gather In Pike County For White Nationalists Rally" (in en). http://www.lex18.com/story/35286036/supporters-crowd-of-protesters-gather-in-pike-county-for-white-nationalists-rally.