Counter-protesters say they plan to leave guns behind on Saturday
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As the Louisville Metro Police Department braced for a day of protests that could bring violence, a spokesperson for the counter-protesting group, Three Percenters told WAVE 3 News they've instructed their members to not bring their guns to the event.
The group has been known to carry weapons to other events in the past.
Gary Foreman, representing the Kentucky chapter told us LMPD asked them not bring the weapons to the protests to avoid any violent clashes, and they agreed.
"We were told not to be armed," he said. "We have been speaking with Louisville Metro and also DHS. They requested that we not be armed so we are certainly going to adhere to their wishes."
Previously in the day, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad held a press conference in which he explained why officers were called in to work Saturday.
"We expect those demonstrations to represent different and conflicting points of view," Conrad said. "I believe a number of people that come to this event will be armed."
Foreman told WAVE 3 News they chose to protest in Louisville as a way to show Immigration and Customs officials they support them. Foreman said they have a strong following in Kentucky, with many members living in Louisville. He says word spread about the Occupy ICE camp outside of the Federal Building on Broadway.
They expect about 100 Three Percenters to show up Saturday.
Foreman said they don't want violence. That's something the Occupy Ice organizer, Jesús Ibáñez said too.
"We are not planning to engage with these individuals," Ibáñez said. "We are not going to be instigating, we are not going to be fighting. Like I said, we are here to abolish ICE."
Occupy ICE Louisville said in a statement that "The paramilitary group has historically aligned itself with white supremacists, and had members at Charlottesville in defense of white nationalists."
Foreman denies ties to white supremacist groups and said they are defenders of the Constitution and laws. He said they support legal immigration.
Foreman told us the group has 5,000 members nationwide.
Chief Conrad asked that children not be taken to the protest.
For protester, Rebecca Frederick, a mother of three, the threat of violence was enough.
"We now have a space off-site that we are going to have kids at," Frederick said. "So that there will be no kids on our side here to keep them safe from that."
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