Memphis Police to Block Off Section of Downtown for Protest Rallies

Memphis Police to Block Off Section of Downtown for Protest Rallies

Rain or shine, the Ku Klux Klan will rally on the courthouse steps in downtown Memphis Saturday afternoon. Police are preparing to shut down several blocks, and will lock down sections of streets for security reasons.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Rain or shine, the Ku Klux Klan will rally on the courthouse steps in downtown Memphis Saturday afternoon. Police are preparing to shut down several blocks, and will lock down sections of streets for security reasons.

Everyone will be forced to go through a checkpoint, with the exception of those who live in the area.

If you head for downtown Memphis on Saturday, it might not be an easy trip. Poplar will be shut down between Fourth Street and Front Street. Front is shut down from Poplar to Jefferson. Jefferson is shut down to Fourth Street. Fourth and Third Streets will be blocked off.

Mayor A C Wharton says the area is normally empty on weekends. "So, insofar as changing your routine, I don't see any real need for that," he said.

If you live downtown, however, your routine will be changed for several hours. Bonita Whittingham is manager of the Claridge House condos, which is smack in the middle of the blocked off area. "I'm going to send an e-mail out to tell everybody," she said.

One of the people she e-mailed says she's not worried or concerned, and she won't let the Klan change any of her plans. Paula Perez will be doing what she does every weekend, and she won't let haters wearing sheets change her plans. "I don't want to give it any attention or energy. I don't think it's necessary and I think that's what they want, so I will try not to do that."

It won't be that easy for her because a friend from out of town will be staying with her this weekend.

"It's very strange… I didn't believe they were still around."
-"It is not going to change your opinion of Memphis, is it?"
"Oh gosh no, I love this place!"

Obviously, the key will be to find out if she still feels the same way at this time Saturday.

There are conventions in the city this weekend, including one where a lot of children will be in attendance. Police are going to be watching the events to make sure nothing happens.

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