PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ)- In Pikeville, tensions were high today as members of a white nationalist group in town for the weekend clashed with protesters.
Downtown Pikeville was essentially shut down today due to clashes between members of the traditionalist worker party and protesters. Police lining the streets to make sure nothing gets out of hand.
Hundreds of people flooded the streets of downtown Pikeville on Saturday.
On one side, members of the traditionalist worker party.
“This is us demonstrating because we have the right to be proud of who we are. We as white people have a right to be proud of our unique heritage and to stand up for the right for our children to exist,” said Sacco, a member of the Traditionalist Worker Party.
On the other side, protesters who strongly oppose the group.
“The best way to overcome hate and defeat hate is to stare it down in the face. So that’s what I’m doing,” said Rebecca Young, a protester.
The white nationalist group was in Pikeville for the weekend, hosting a benefit concert and recruiting new members.
“It’s been going incredibly well. We’ve had locals coming out to join us. The reason we came in the first place was because we have local members from pike county. So we’re just continuing that mission to build an organic grassroots nationalist socialist political alternative for the community of Pike County and east Kentucky,” said Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party.
But not everyone was happy to see the party in their town.
“I thought we progressed much further than this but when we learned it was an outside group it kind of brought all of us together,” said Rosa So, a protester.
“We don’t need them in our town to tell us how to live. We’re doing just fine on our own without them. We all of us races that lives here gets along great,” said Terrin Comer, a protester.
Members of the Traditionalist Worker Party tell me they’ve already seen interest from more than a dozen people and they plan to stay here through the night. But these protesters say they’re going to stay here too to make sure this party knows that not everyone here in Pikeville welcomes them.