LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While protests have been happening daily in Louisville since the end of May, city officials are anticipating a big influx of demonstrators this weekend and are making preparations.
It became known earlier this week that a group described as a Black armed militia would be assembling from across the country to march into the epicenter of the city’s protests, demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.
Word of the their plans sparked some from counter-protesters, also believed to be coming from out of town, LMPD said.
So with people allegedly arriving from all over, combined with the crowd that regularly assembles in Jefferson Square Park, Louisville police are expecting a big crowd.
ROAD CLOSURES, TRAFFIC CHANGES
To help keep the peace, LMPD is making changes at Jefferson Square Park on Saturday.
These roads will be close starting at 8 a.m.:
- Jefferson Street between Fourth and Seventh streets
- Liberty Street between Fifth and Seventh streets.
- Fifth Street between Market Street and Muhammad Ali
- Close down Sixth Street between Market and Liberty streets
Parking will also be prohibited at all parking meters on the streets surrounding the park: Jefferson, Sixth and Liberty streets.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE GROUPS
The Black armed militia is more formally called “No F***ing Around Coalition,” or NFAC. The group carries large rifles, wearing all black. The group of 100 or more was last seen marching in Georgia on July 4, calling on the removal of a Confederate carving. Officials said that rally was peaceful. This time around, the group’s leader said they plan to have five times as many people as they did then.
The group leader, Grand Master Jay, is having people assemble at noon Baxter Park before they march downtown. More details.
LMPD said it has made contact with this group, and also several groups planning to counter-protest. Among those mentioned was the Three Percenters, a far-right militia, which advocates gun rights and resistance to government involvement in local affairs. It’s unclear when the other groups plan to arrive.
So that’s two groups who could potentially be armed with large guns.
Even so, LMPD said it plans on all groups being peaceful based on their conversations.
HOW LMPD WILL KEEP GROUPS SEPARATED
LMPD will have a visible police presence at the park and there will be two areas secured using bike racks to keep opposing protesters separated. The buffer zone, where police will be, is between those two areas on Fifth Street.