Members of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups are converging on the Tennessee city of Crossville to attend a rally organized by racist website Stormfront.
The site, which until Friday had its domain name revoked after claims it was linked to dozens of murders, has 330,000 members and was founded by a former Ku Klux Klan ‘Grand Wizard’.
Now its members are gathering in the city to discuss how to further their racist agenda by running for office and promoting white supremacy – on the same day as Jewish people celebrate Yom Kippur, USA Today reported.
White supremacists are attending a summit organized by racist website Stormfront, organized by KKK members and neo-Nazis. Pictured: Protesters at a KKK rally in July
Organizer Billy Roper, a neo-Nazi, says he hopes it will attract young members. The summit will feature lectures on getting into local politics and digging up dirt on ‘adversaries’ online
Don Black, the ex-KKK leader who founded the site, announced the gathering in July.
He’s since bowed out due to illness and the annual gathering is now being fronted by another white supremacist, Billy Roper.
‘We wanted to actually make this more of an activist-oriented conference and get a younger audience,’ Roper said.
He said the conference will including lectures on running for local office, promoting white supremacist beliefs and how to find the personal details of ‘adversaries and allies’ on the internet.
The summit was originally organized by ex-KKK leader Don Black (pictured), who dropped out due to illness. Stormfront was shut down after complaints that it was complicit in murders
Roper, who is a neo-Nazi according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the timing of the event – which falls squarely within Judaism’s holiest holiday – was a coincidence.
The group had originally planned to meet at local restaurant the Beef & Barrel Restaurant and Lounge on Friday, but a member of staff confirmed to DailyMail.com that the reservation had been canceled.
They said that a booking had been made for a party of 30 by a woman who didn’t identify herself or her dining partners as white supremacists.
Concerned about the safety of their customers, they canceled the booking, they said. In an official statement on its Facebook page, the restaurant said it doesn’t ‘discriminate against anyone’s religious, racial or sexual preferences.’
‘I showed up at 630 [Friday] … and the waitress was like f**k a kkk,’ activist Chris Irwin wrote on Facebook. ‘She said she did not believe they still existed and said the owner was horrified when he found out.
‘At 7 the pointy heads tried to show up and come in anyway. The owner called the cops and would rather shut the business down than serve them a french fry.
‘They sulked around the parking lot–then left.’
More parking lot action was seen Saturday morning at the Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, where the group had gathered to meet.
Irwin filmed supposed members gathering in the lot ahead of their planned event, which he claimed was originally intended to be secretive.
State park officials said that they do not ask the purpose of reservations when they are made; no permit was requested for a demonstration.
Irwin live-streamed himself on Facebook Life calling out to members of the group as they arrived in their cars. Some hid their faces as he shouted to them.
Although the parking lot seemed to be sparsely occupied, Roper had previously said that he thought this could be the biggest gathering ever.
A table for 30 was booked at this local restaurant, the Beef and Barrel, for Friday, until management learned that the group were white supremacists and canceled the reservation
‘I keep getting more and more e-mails and (instant messages) from more people who are coming to the replacement conference next weekend,’ he wrote on the website’s forum.
However, Crossville Mayor James Mayberry downplayed the success of previous events held in his town.
‘Last year the rumor was [former Klan leader] David Duke would be here, and of course, he wasn’t,’ Mayberry said.
‘There were rumors it was going to be kind of a big deal and then it wasn’t.’
Stormfront is the web’s oldest white supremacist website, having opened in 1995, but was shut down temporarily after its domain name was revoked.
That happened after complaints were filed with Network Solutions alleging the site promotes not only hate speech, but deadly violence, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which filed the complaint, said.
Users of Black’s website have been implicated in more than 100 killings, according to the complaint, including 77 people slain by neo-Nazi Anders Breivik at a camp in Norway in 2011.
A spokesman for Network Solutions didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Another rally is being held on Saturday by The Gulf Coast Patriot Network (members pictured), who are protesting the possible removal of a confederate monument in Louisiana
Another major white supremacist website, The Daily Stormer, was previously shut down by the web-hosting company Go Daddy and then Google after the violence in Charlottesville.
Also on Saturday, members of the KKK-affiliated The Gulf Coast Patriot Network were to gather at a Louisiana Confederate monument, according to the Shreveport Times.
Barricades had been erected outside the Caddo Parish Courthouse in Shreveport ahead of the planned gathering, to protest the planned removal of the monument, which was erected in 1906.
Organizer Rex Dukes of Keithville, Louisiana, said that while his group is affiliated with the KKK, members of that organization were not invited for fear of clashes with anti-fascist groups.