'To dance La Bamba, you need a bit of grace'

Tennessee counter-protesters play ‘La Bamba’ to silence white supremacists

Vastly outnumbered in Shelbyville, right-wing nationalists cancel second planned rally in nearby Murfreesboro

Counter-protesters playing the hit song “La Bamba” shut down a white supremacist, neo-Nazi rally in Tennessee Saturday, and caused the cancellation of a second rally by vastly outnumbering the right-wing extremists.

Some 160 white nationalists gathered in Shelbyville, amid a large police presence, but were drowned out by the Mexican folk song played at full volume by some 400 people demonstrating against their racist ideology, the Tennessean reported.

A second rally planned by the same group for later in the day in nearby Murfreesboro, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the north, was cancelled after only 30 members of the right-wing group showed up, and were met by 1,000 counter-protesters.

Counter-protestors demonstrate during a White Lives Matter rally, on October 28, 2017, in Shelbyville, Tennessee. (Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images/AFP)

The counter-demonstrators in Shelbyville sang the traditional Mexican song, “La Bamba,” made famous by Richie Valens in 1958 and again by Los Lobos in 1987, at high volume, drowning out Michael Hill, leader of the ‘White Lives Matter’ rally. (The lyrics to the song translate as, “To dance the Bamba, one needs a bit of grace. A bit of grace for me, for you…”)

“Oh, you can party all you want, you degenerate whores, but we are just getting started,” Hill said into the microphone, before giving up and shouting abuse at those opposing the racist rally.

Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party speaks to participants at a white nationalist’s rally on October 28, 2017, in Shelbyville, Tennessee. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP)

The two rallies were called in protest at the influx of refugees in Tennessee.

“We’ve been here marching for the white peoples’ rights,” said Thor Henderson, a grand officer in a Georgia Ku Klux Klan group. “We just bring awareness to the stuff that’s going on and maybe we can wake up the general public and just open their eyes.”

The white nationalists, led by members of League of the South, also chanted anti-Semitic slogans such as “Jews will not replace us.” Some of the group wore imitation Nazi helmets and chanted the Nazi slogan “Blood and soil.”

One of those who came to demonstrate against the white nationalists was Kat Chambers. “I don’t want Nazis on the street of my country, not my state, not your state,” she told the Tennessean.

White nationalist attend a rally on October 28, 2017 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP)

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander condemned the white nationalists in a statement.

“While the Constitution gives everyone the right to assemble, the Constitution makes it absolutely clear that we are all Americans without regard to race,” he said. “The views of the white nationalists, Nazis, white supremacists and the Klan are wrong, they are un-American, they are not welcome, and we need to be loud and clear about that.”

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