Stone Mountain Park will close for day due to planned protests

Stone Mountain Park will close for day due to planned protests
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 13: The statue of Confederat Gen. Robert E. Lee stands in the center of Emancipation Park the day after the Unite the Right rally devolved into violence August 13, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the statue and change the name of the space from Lee Park to Emancipation Park, sparking protests from white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and members of the 'alt-right.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Stone Mountain Park, which features a Confederate carving about 20 miles outside of Super Bowl host city Atlanta, will be closed Saturday because of concerns over safety and security around possible protests.

Chief of Police Chancey H. Troutman, of the city of Stone Mountain, said on Facebook that several activist groups “motivated by racial politics” have planned to hold unpermitted demonstrations.

“This type of event may attract fringe elements seeking attention or with intent to cause trouble,” he said. “These groups do not represent the Stone Mountain community, and we will not tolerate such folks disturbing the peacefulness of our village.”

Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which operates the park for the state in conjunction with Herschend Family Entertainment, said the park would be closed except for hotel and campground guests.

No other vehicles or pedestrians will be allowed into the park, where a monument to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson is carved onto the granite mound.

On weekends the park is popular among hikers who take trails up the mountain and cyclists who ride the roads through the 3,600-acre park.

In April 2016, police made at least nine arrests at a “pro-white” rally in the park that had more counter-demonstrators than protesters. Officials eventually closed the park for the rest of the day.