STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - On the eve of Super Bowl weekend with an estimated 1 million visitors in town, one of the state’s largest and most recognizable tourist attractions announced it will close Saturday, according to our investigative partners at The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association made the announcement closing the 3,600-acre park, best known for the mammoth carving of Confederate leaders on the face of the granite mountain, because it could not adequately police an influx of left-wing protesters who plan to gather there.
“No vehicles or pedestrian traffic will be allowed into the park. Only hotel and campground guests will be allowed entry and exit through the park gate,” the association board said in a brief statement released Friday evening. “Security concerns have been identified and are being addressed by state and local law enforcement authorities.”
Although it is the off-season, the park draws thousands of tourists every weekend and more than 4 million annually.
While not announced until late Friday, park officials have known since November that white supremacists and nationalists were planning a rally for Super Bowl weekend. Officials had been considering closing the park for at least a week after the group vowed to hold the rally despite being denied a permit.
On Thursday, that group announced they had canceled their rally amid infighting and fears for personal safety. But a coalition of left-wing activists who spent weeks organizing a counter protest announced they would go to the park anyway “in a spirit of celebration.” That group is expected to gather in the small downtown of the city of Stone Mountain Saturday morning and then had planned to march into the park.
This was written by Chris Joyner with The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Read the entire article here.
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