Protest and Rally In Downtown Knoxville

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- The murder of Channon Christian, and her boyfriend Christopher Newsom was cited for the reason for a white supremacist protest this afternoon in downtown Knoxville.

Their protesting came outside of the Old Knoxville Courthouse at 3:00 PM, alleging the murder of the two was racially motivated. All of the suspects of the crime are black but the Knoxville Police Department has stated the crime was not race-related.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy was at the protest, and observed everything that was going on.

"Always remember Channon and Christopher!", shouted the protesters.

It quickly became a war of words outside the Knoxville Courthouse.

"I came down her to say no to savage black crime!" said Hal Turner, who hosts a radio show based out of the New York City area. "Nothing can help the dead people, but it can alert the white people out there that there are terrible savages here in the city and that they have to be a little more racially aware."

Counter-protesters also attended the event, with plans to take a stand against the white supremacists.

"You don't even have the courage to wear your Nazi uniforms anymore!" said some of the counter-protesters.

"You're a member of the master race! Speak louder please!" said others.

All the while Knoxville Police kept a close eye on the situation, diving the two groups down main street with a line of riot-gear ready officers.

"We wanted to send a clear message to our town that these people are not acceptable, they never were and never will be,"
said Knoxville attorney and counter-protester Chris Irwin.

The cries of the two groups bridged the range of human emotion.

"You'd look good at the end of rope," said a protester.

"You're a bozo," said a counter-protester.

Most of the white supremacists also indicated they're out of town and one was even dressed like a clown.

"These environmentalists look like they're having a party," said the face painted protester.

"They're not just a knife at the throat of the African American and immigrant communities," Irwin said. They're a threat to us all."

Other Counter-protesters thought the scene was so laughable that they used humor in their taunts.

"You guys want to dance," one of them asked.

But the message of the white supremacists is nothing to laugh about.

"If the family's had educated their children to be more racially conscious," Turner said, "maybe their kids would be alive."

But both the Christian and Newsom families have said it isn't their business.

Turner agrees and disagrees.

"The family's free to do what they feel is right," he said, "so are we."

With these orange barricades, a large police force, and Main Street separating the two groups, KPD, says the protest was peaceful.

But the words of both sides stayed strong.

"If you're against racism, why weren't you here protesting the crime," said many of the protesters.

"You all are the best comedians I've ever seen!" said a counter protester.

The protest lasted from 3 PM until just after 4 PM.

Knoxville police arrested rally organizer Alex Linder who they say went into the control area and refused to leave.

He's charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault, and vandalism.

Today's ralliers promise a significantly larger Klan rally in a few weeks.


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