Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad says officers will be out in full force to maintain order Saturday during a counter-protest near the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement building downtown.
A group called Occupy ICE has been camped out in front of the building at 7th and Broadway since early this week, calling for the agency to be abolished. The group is opposed to the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy along the southern border.
Now, a militia group called the Three Percenters is planning a counter-protest near the building. The group says its name refers to the percentage of colonists who fought against Great Britain for independence.
Conrad said he has cancelled off-days for officers Saturday and declared an emergency to handle crowd control.
“I believe that a number of people planning to come to this event will be armed, and I don’t know if they necessarily identify with one group or the other,” Conrad said Friday. “We believe that there will be people at this event openly carrying firearms, and in some case carrying firearms concealed.”
Conrad said several streets in the area will be closed and the groups will be separated in two different areas.
“What we will not allow is violence or the destruction of property,” he said. “And be assured that we will respond if there is either.”
In a written statement Friday, Mayor Greg Fischer said that violence of any kind won’t be tolerated and the protests should be “legal, peaceful and respectful.”