Bell County, KY
April 04, 2008
Residents of Pineville, a southeastern Kentucky town of 2,100, are upset that the Appalachian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is saying it will hold a three-day rally there.
'The biggest question is why are they coming to Bell County?' Mayor Bob Madon said.
The Appalachian Knights printed on its blog that it is hosting the three-day event called Aryan Bash 2008, starting April 11, with a half-dozen other white-supremacist groups. 'The event is open to all whites wanting to attend,' the KKK said.
The news has been the talk of the town. On the Middlesboro Daily News Web site, a story about the event had 131 comments, which were overwhelmingly negative. Commenters feared bad publicity for the town and violence.
No violence will be tolerated, Madon said. City police, Bell County sheriff's deputies and the Kentucky State Police will be on hand to maintain order if the rally does indeed occur. And the Kentucky National Guard is only a phone call away, the mayor said.
The courthouse is a public place and the KKK has a constitutional right to demonstrate there, Madon said. But it will not be allowed to hold a three-day rally.
'One hour for one day is fair,' said Madon, citing the cost of having police on guard for 72 consecutive hours.
The Appalachian Knights does not list contact information on its blog. It said in a post that it does not grant news media interviews.
Madon said the Klan will not be allowed to incite violence or disrupt businesses.
Pineville does not require permits for holding demonstrations, and the Klan has not inquired about one. Madon doesn't think the Klan will actually show up. He said they never appeared for a recent event they were scheduled to hold in Pikeville.
The Klan held rallies in Middlesboro and Pineville six years ago. Madon said there were no arrests or violence.
Counterdemonstrators would be kept away to avoid violence.
Madon said his phone has constantly been ringing since he wrote a column in the Daily News on Thursday.
Despite the concerns, Madon said he does not think the rally should reflect poorly on Pineville residents, who are about 93 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Web site.
'We've been so fortunate to have wonderful black people,' Madon said.