Things could quickly turn ugly in Louisville today as armed white nationalists from our old friends, the Three Percenters, plan to show up Saturday to confront the ongoing Occupy ICE protest.
Louisville police are bracing for a clash outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building downtown as a militia group confirmed it is planning to counter an ongoing demonstration on Saturday.
Occupy ICE Louisville has been posted outside the federal agency's downtown office for almost a week in opposition to President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown. The group's Facebook page says they are "aware of the intention of counterprotesters to make themselves known" at 9 a.m.
Gary Foreman, a spokesman for the Kentucky chapter of the Three Percenters, said on Friday the group would be stationed at 7th and York streets Saturday morning to "ensure everyone expresses their thoughts in a peaceful environment."
Foreman said the group applied for and received a permit for the protest from Louisville Metro Police. He expects somewhere near 100 people to attend, he said, including members of state chapters in Tennessee and Indiana.
Jesus Ibañez, a member of Occupy ICE, told the Courier Journal his group learned of the counterprotest through their attorneys and a review of social media.
"We're just going to get people up early and have brunch and rally," Ibañez said.
Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, who represents the downtown area, told the Courier Journal she spoke with Police Chief Steve Conrad on Thursday about this weekend’s protests. She said they didn’t talk about specific organizations, but that the police chief emphasized the importance of public safety.
"I do think folks should exercise caution and I do that based upon my own research," Sexton Smith said. "The chief wouldn’t have called me to inform me about their plans had he not thought this had risen to a level where we need to exercise caution."
And yes, the Three Percenters were among those at the Charlottesville white nationalism rally that turned deadly last year. They happily provide "security" for neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other white supremacist rally groups.
Now they are coming to Louisville, weapons in hand.
Conrad says @LMPD is asking the opposing sides to enter from different parts of the closed area. He mentions how they don't wanted what happened in #Charlottesville, Virginia to happen here but that residents should be prepared for violence.— Philmonger (@phillipmbailey) July 6, 2018
It's going to be a long, hot summer here in Kentucky.