Vastly outnumbered by protesters, the neo-Nazis decided to pack it up and call it a day.
After seeing the sheer number of counter-protesters who showed up Saturday to oppose the so-called “White Lives Matter” rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and facing equal crowds for a planned second rally later in the day in nearby Murfreesboro, white supremacists backed down and canceled that second demonstration.
The rallies, which brought together several different far-right extremist groups, were hailed by organizers as the largest gathering of white supremacists since the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
The League of the South, which organized the rallies, said they deliberately chose the location for Saturday’s demonstrations because they thought the local population would be more sympathetic to their cause.
They were wrong.
The plan was to start in Shelbyville and then head about 20 miles north to a second rally in Murfreesboro. According to reporters on the ground, counter-protesters outnumbered white supremacists by about two to one at their initial rally in Shelbyville.
But in Murfreesboro, an estimated 800 to 1,000 counter-protesters gathered to greet the 200 or so white supremacists who had shown up for the first rally. According to the Tennessean, chants of “Murfreesboro loves,” “Refugees are welcome here,” and “This is what democracy looks like” could be heard echoing through the streets of downtown Murfreesboro.
Rather than face a second round of embarrassment, rally organizers decided to call off the second demonstration and head home.
— knoxnews (@knoxnews) October 29, 2017
The Huffington Post reported that counter-protesters “were seen celebrating in the streets” after the humiliated white supremacists announced the change in plans.
Emboldened by the Trump administration, white supremacists and neo-Nazis have begun taking to the streets more frequently, apparently with the impression that they have the support of the American people. But as these overt displays of racism and bigotry pop up in towns across the country, Americans are becoming increasingly defiant and determined to stand up to the hate.
As one Twitter user put it yesterday: “Free speech gives good people the right to shout down and shut down white supremacists.”
And that they did.