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Police chief ready to keep peace at Memphis Klan rally

9:02 PM, Mar 30, 2013   |    comments
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Update 5:25 p.m.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Members of the Ku Klux Klan have begun a rally in downtown Memphis to protest the renaming of three Confederate parks.

About 50 members arrived Saturday afternoon, some wearing pointed white hoods and waving red and black flags with the letters "KKK' and swastikas on them. One leader said through a megaphone "you're not going to take our parks."

A nearby anti-Klan rally attracted about 100 people who were chanting "KKK go away."

Security was extremely heavy and police Director Toney Armstrong said officers were prepared to keep the peace.

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A North Carolina-based faction of the Klan received a protest permit after the City Council voted to change the names of Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Confederate Park. Forrest was a slave trader, Confederate cavalryman and member of the first version of the Klan.MEMPHIS - Memphis' police chief says his officers are ready to keep the peace at a planned rally by Ku Klux Klan members protesting the renaming of three Confederate parks.

Police Director Toney Armstrong said Saturday that estimates of the number of Klan members expected to protest has exceeded 100, but he was not certain how many would show up. Security was extremely heavy in a closed-off section of downtown.

Rain was forecast for the afternoon, when the protest was set to begin.

A North Carolina-based faction of the Klan received a protest permit after the City Council voted to change the names of Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Confederate Park. Forrest was a slave trader, Confederate cavalryman and member of the first version of the Klan.

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