MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - With a rally and cross-lighting ceremony, plans are underway for a massive Ku Klux Klan rally in downtown Memphis.
On Tuesday, the City of Memphis approved a permit for the March 30th rally.
"We are just going to stand up for our rights, we are losing them everyday around here," said Edward, a member of the Loyal White Knights, the Klan group planning the rally.
The permit comes with conditions, including restrictions on Klan members wearing masks or hoods, and carrying firearms.
""It will be in all of our best interest to have a demonstration where we are able to work with this group in setting the do's and don'ts," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said in a statement. "Right now, my team has a strategy that will ensure everyone's safety."
"What we absolutely do not want is some unplanned, spontaneous demonstration where my team has not been involved in planning and set-up," he added.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said the city considered all of its options when debating the permit, adding that just because the city approved it, doesn't mean the Klan is welcome with open arms.
"This is not to say that we welcome the Klan or anything that it stands for, but we know what the law is," Mayor Wharton said.
Klan members met with abc24.com in a North Memphis park on Tuesday night.
"White people need to stand up for our rights. Quit being scared of all these other people, stand up for our rights, and stand proud," Edward said.
He said he didn't have any issues with the restrictions, adding he'll be taking off his mask.
Edward and other Klan members arrived at the interview in black hats and masks over their faces; only their eyes could be seen.
"I really, really don't have a problem taking it off, I'm about ready to tonight, now that my family is safe," Edward said.
He thought about it for a minute, then reconsidered.
"I feel like I should be able to stand proud of what I am representing and not stand behind a mask, but it is the image that everybody has put on us for so long, a hate group," he said.
"If this was a hate group I would have never have joined it," he added.
Chris Barker, the Imperial Wizard of the Loyal White Knights, says the Klan will take precautions to protect Klan members.
"We will have people with concealed weapons scattered throughout the audience and nobody will know who they are," Barker said. "They won't even associate with us. They'll come in with the protestors."
Edward says the group is now turning towards logistics, including finding places for all the visiting Klan members to stay.
"With everyone coming into town, places for everybody to stay, try and let everyone know out here, if you want to stand with us, and stand up for our rights, and stand up for our city parks you are more then welcome to come with us."
The rally is planned for the afternoon of March 30th. Barker says the Klan will then host a cross-lighting ceremony. He declined to elaborate, only to say it would occur outside the city limits.