Second Racially Charged Rally

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Swastikas, shaved heads, and shouting returned to downtown this afternoon as Knoxville experienced its second racially-charged rally in less than a month.

White supremacists gathered outside the City-County Building to protest the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom as a hate crime because the victims were white and all of the suspects were black.

"We're white people! We founded this land and you're not going to take it!", said Pastor Ken Gregg, one of the rally's organizers. "You animals, you better crawl back in your hole!"

"KKK! Go away!" said counter protesters outside of the City-County Building.

The event attracted more counter protesters than protesters.

"I believe in white pride," said Tim Pratt, a member of the protest.

Pratt said that white people needed to be educated about black on white crime.

"Education is the only way," he said.

"I'm a Knoxvillian. We don't stand for this," said Loretta Gronath.

Gronath insisted that the protesters were not representative of the way all Knoxvillians or Christians believe.

"I'm a Christian and I don't approve of what they're saying," she said, "it's possible for people to coexist no matter what color, what race, what you are. It's about how you are as a human being."

"I'm trying to show that this is a hate crime more or less. That the county or city isn't pursuing that enough," said Ed Parks, another protester.

Parks stood alone at because he didn't agree with the way the others handled it.

"These folks are crazy. They're yelling and these folks over here are just as crazy, playing music and trying to distract them."

But protesters continued on throughout the day.

"Yahweh, who's our god, inspired our people to stand-up because our people are being murdered all over the world," Pastor Gregg said.

"With orange barricades, lines of police officers, and police tape, police say today's rally was peaceful, and both sides agreed on one thing.

"Education is the only way," Pratt said.

But what type of education is the difference.

Ralliers say this won't be their last.

They plan to hold more once the hearings for the suspects begin a little under a year from now.


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