While protesters have gathered outside a state-owned hotel in Tennessee where a white nationalist conference is being held, state police have taken extraordinary measures to secure the hate group’s safety.
Police formed a tight perimeter around the hotel Saturday, while a helicopter circled overhead and protesters were searched by state park rangers using a metal detector, the Tennessean reported.
American Renaissance, a racist Virginia-based organization listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group which "openly peddles white nationalism," has reserved the 125 rooms inside Montgomery Bell State Park Inn for the weekend conference, thus literally taking over a taxpayer-owned hotel.
Anti-racist protesters arrived a short time later and state park rangers subjected each protester to a metal detector test before allowing them to enter a fenced-off area across from the hotel.
One protester, Beth Foster, grew upset when park rangers did not allow her to bring a purse inside, as bags were prohibited in the protest zone, the Huffington Post reported.
“This is absolutely absurd,” she told the officers. “Nazis” from out of state, she told them, were allowed to rent out an entire Tennessee taxpayer-owned hotel, and yet she was not allowed to bring a tiny purse inside a section of her own state park.
“It’s anti-racist activists that the state sees as the enemies,” she told reporters. “Not the Nazis or the white supremacists who are in our buildings, using our public restrooms, and eating in our public restaurant, plotting genocide.”
“It’s the anti-racist activists the state sees as the enemies, not the Nazis & white supremacists in our buildings, using our public restrooms, using our public restaurant, to plot genocide,” says Beth Foster after going through the security checkpoint. pic.twitter.com/0e32vqWnzU— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) April 28, 2018
“Those are the most influential white supremacists in the world meeting at this rural location in Tennessee!” Lacy MacAuley, an anti-fascist activist from Washington, DC, yelled at the cops. “You all are protecting absolute evil right now and you’re looking at us as if we’re the problem!”
A comrade was harassed for wearing a rainbow mask momentarily, and hot-headed cops entered protest pen and militantly escorted them out. Most of crowd followed to chant and support comrade. Comrade was not arrested, was allowed to walk away with others. Protest continues. #amren. pic.twitter.com/enpSct7uEc— Lacy MacAuley (@lacymacauley) April 28, 2018
Who are the American Renaissance?
The founder of the group, Jared Taylor, is a self-described “race realist.” Taylor believes, race is an inescapable biological fact, which has consequences on society. “The races are not equal and equivalent. If a nation changes demographically, its society will change,” he has been quoted as saying.
Many including the SPLC have stated that Taylor’s career involves lending a “pseudo-academic polish” to racial thought. He presents as urbane: he is a trilingual Yale graduate proficient in Japanese and French, and his work has mainly involved producing “research” that backs up his positions on race.
“Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”
He has discussed sterilizing mothers who are on welfare, and has advocated for the creation of a whites-only country, or ethnostate, within the US.
Previous American Renaissance conferences have attracted some of America’s most notorious white supremacists, including David Duke and Richard Spencer, who called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” in the US at a prior year’s event.
The American Renaissance website describes this year’s conference as an opportunity for speakers and attendees to “plot a course for the years ahead.”