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Klan rally held in Memphis

by N.Y. Times News Service on March 31, 2013 2:30 AM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Ku Klux Klan rallied in Memphis on Saturday to protest the City Council’s decision last month to rename three city parks that honored Confederate troops. About 75 members of the group marched under police supervision inside a small fenced area downtown.

The Memphis police asked residents to avoid the rally site, and city leaders advertised a festival across town. The rally was the latest response to the council’s decision Feb. 5 to rename parks whose names it felt were racially insensitive.

The old names were Confederate Park; Jefferson Davis Park, named for the Confederacy’s president; and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, named for a Confederate lieutenant general and the Klan’s first grand wizard. The new names are Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and Health Sciences Park.

, but the council may change those, too.

The last time the Klan rallied in Memphis, in 1998, fighting broke out between members and counterprotesters, and the police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. They arrested 20 people.

On Saturday, the group paraded with signs bearing swastikas and proclaiming “Save Our Parks.” The group’s megaphone malfunctioned and chants of “white power” were barely audible outside the protest area.

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