A growing crowd of demonstrators is gathering in the Fort Sanders neighborhood of Knoxville near the University of Tennessee campus.
Knoxville Police are on site. KPD towed dozens of vehicles Saturday morning ahead of the planned protests. 17th Street is closed from Cumberland Avenue to Highland Avenue. Side streets connecting in that stretch of 17th are also blocked.
Police presence along Fort Sanders monument pic.twitter.com/pB4rJm5ODW— Stephanie Haines (@StephanieWBIR) August 26, 2017
KPD, the Knox County Sheriff's Office and the Knoxville Fire Department were all on scene. Officers handed out water to people in the crowd.
Approximately 300 people are gathering near the monument. The majority of the people are demonstrating against the Fort Sanders Confederate monument, while a smaller group is rallying in support of the monument.
A few pictures from the demonstrations in Knoxville regarding a Confederate Monument. Peaceful for the most part. pic.twitter.com/VQpRbNv4Rk— Brandon Bates (@BBATESWBIR) August 26, 2017
Signs could be seen the crowd with messages like "resist" and there were chants of "not in Knoxville." A woman standing near the monument said held a Confederate flag and a sign that said "defend our monument."
The monument has been vandalized three times in the past two weeks. It was erected on the corner of 17th Street and Laurel Avenue in 1914 by the Daughters of the Confederacy to commemorate the Confederate soldiers who died in the Battle of Fort Sanders on Nov. 29, 1863.
Two petitions have been created recently - one to take the monument down, and the other to leave it alone.
Meanwhile, a kindness rally was held in Krutch Park near downtown, with several hundred people filling the park.
The kindness rally went on for about an hour, with the crowd starting to disperse a little after 2 p.m.