The city of Newnan, Ga., is steeling itself for a possible clash between neo-Nazi demonstrators and counter-protesters on Saturday.
Anti-fascist counter-protesters are planning to gather in response to a rally planned by the National Socialist Movement (NSM), a neo-Nazi, white supremacist group, the Newnan Times-Herald reports. The dueling gatherings bring to mind a similar face-off between the two groups last year in Charlottesville, N.C., which left a woman dead and sparked outrage and protests across the country.
The NSM is expecting between 50 and 100 people to gather in Newnan’s Greenville Street Park — which has been surrounded by barricades and a chain-link fence — on Saturday afternoon, USA Today reports. Counter-protesters, including those from groups such as Antifa, the Democratic Socialists of America and the Worker’s Solidarity Alliance, have been directed to stay on a nearby street, according to city officials.
The Newnan Police Department is planning regular patrols before, during and after the demonstrations and is closing nearby roads to traffic. More than 20 public safety departments were consulted leading up to the event, and approximately 400 public safety officers will be on hand, according to Newnan officials. Many businesses will also close on Saturday, in an effort to keep people away from the downtown area.
“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our people and their property,” Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows told USA Today.
Meanwhile, many businesses stayed open late on Friday night through an event deemed #NewnanStrong, which was meant to “celebrate the diversity in our community” and make up for revenue that businesses would lose on Saturday. The organizers are also encouraging the citizens of Newnan to counter Saturday’s rally with positivity online and in person.
“Celebrate your neighbors, co-workers, the people that you interact with every week that bring value to your life,” they wrote on their website. “There will be plenty of hate happening in the park on Saturday. Let us overpower that with a flood of community and love on Insta and FB.”