Jena Demonstrations Planned

A white supremacist group in Jena, La., home of the Jena Six, plans to demonstrate Monday in opposition to the celebration of the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. They are also against the Jena Six, the black teenagers accused of beating a white schoolmate shortly after a noose was hung on a tree at their high school. Others may protest against the demonstrations.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

On this Martin Luther King Day, Jena, Louisiana is preparing for conflict. A white supremacist group is marking the holiday with a demonstration. The group will voice its opposition to the so-called Jena Six; those are the black teenagers arrested last year for the beating of a white schoolmate after a noose was hung at a local high school. The black teens were charged with attempted murder, charges that were reduced after 20,000 protesters arrived.

Now it's the white supremacists' turn to rally. Some civil rights groups plan a counter-demonstration, but civil rights leader Al Sharpton says he would rather not march.

Reverend AL SHARPTON (Civil Rights Activist): Those of us that respect Dr. King wouldn't go see the circus on his day. We'd be celebrating him on his day. Nor would we scar, in my opinion, the biggest example of what King preached, and that was a huge nonviolent march that happened in Jena on September 20th. So why would we scar that for some old relics of the Klan?

INSKEEP: Al Sharpton speaking to KALB-TV in Louisiana. He may not march, but Sharpton was in Jena yesterday.

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