About 300 nationalists and neo-Nazis took to this small Tennessee town of Shelbyville's streets to protest refugee resettlement before this year in the state, which resisted the government over the issue.
The "White Lives Matter" rally, organized by a number of the very same groups involved at a Virginia march in August which turned violent, drew an equal number of counter-demonstrators along with a significant police presence.
After Shelbyville, the protesters were due to traveling about 35 miles north to Murfreesboro for a second rally.
The two cities are just southeast of Nashville, whose area is now home to refugees from elsewhere, Iraq and Somalia.
The day's protests were coordinated from the Front, a coalition such as the League of the Vanguard and South America, considered neo-Nazi or even neo-Confederate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"We don't need the federal government to maintain dumping all these refugees into middle Tennessee," said Brad Griffin, a League of the South member who's written about his desire to make a white "ethnostate."
To help keep the peace, Shelbyville police utilized temporary fencing to distinguish the nationalists from counter-demonstrators at a protest area that was central. Has been searched. Backpacks, sticks, guns and things which may double as weapons were banned.
The nationalist demonstrators gathered behind a half dozen white shields. Counter-protesters carried signs with slogans including "Do not Hate" and "Veterans for Peace."
Faith leaders and local officials have denounced the gatherings.
Over the previous 15 decades, about 18,000 refugees are resettled in Tennessee, less than one percent of the nation's inhabitants, according to the Tennessean newspaper.
A lawsuit filed against the government in March from Tennessee said the state had been unduly made to pay for refugee resettlements. It had been the first state to bring such a case on the grounds of the 10th Amendment, which restricts U.S. government forces to those provided by the Constitution, although other countries have filed similar suits on various legal grounds.
"When they say refugees, what they really mean is Muslims," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, referring to Saturday's protesters.
He noted that a Murfreesboro mosque was a source of vandalism and controversy for several years.
"Tennessee is one of the states that has seen a increase in anti-Muslim bigotry in the last couple of decades, particularly since the election," Hooper said.
President Donald Trump has sought to prohibit traveling from seven Muslim-majority nations since he took office and predicted during his 2016 election campaign to get a "complete and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the USA."
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