Juneteenth Celebration Protested by White Lives Matter Group in Tennessee


An annual Juneteenth Celebration in Franklin, Tennessee was disrupted by White Lives Matter, a group of white nationalists. 

During the cities second annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, approximately 10 young white men wore matching white shirts with matching logos, and black skull balaclava face coverings, according to the Williamson Homepage. The group of men also held up signs that read “Stop White Replacement” and “It’s ok to be white.”

Each year, Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th, observing an important moment in African-American history when Union soldiers marched into Galveston, Texas in 1865 to control the state and inform the remaining slaves that they were free. According to a report by the nonprofit organization The Pew Charitable Trusts, there were 250,000 enslaved people in Texas at the time. 

On Saturday, the City of Franklin said in a statement that another group also disrupted the Juneteenth festival. 

“This afternoon, festival organizers asked two different groups to leave the downtown Franklin Juneteenth Festival,” the statement read. “One group was carrying signs that read things like ‘White Lives Matter’ and ‘Stop White Replacement.’”

A department spokesperson told the Williamson Homepage that the Franklin Police Department had no prior information that the groups were planning to protest the celebration. 

“The other group, who said they were there to be a buffer between the festival-goers and the other group, included people who were armed and wearing ballistic vests. Both groups left the area when asked. There was no violence and were no arrests after Franklin Police Officers intervened,” the city’s statement added. 

According to local news station WMSV-4, both groups of protestors also distributed flyers saying that they are demonstration because “the anti-white system is committed to our spiritual and physical genocide.” The pamphelts were handed out to festival-goers before the police arrived.

One protestor handed out a flyer at the festival on Saturday that stated that the group is different from the White Lives Matter group that protested in Shelbyville, Tennessee in 2017, according to the Williamson Homepage.

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