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City Prepares For Possible Protest During Elvis Week Candlelight

Memphis police, Memphis city leaders and Graceland officials are aware and keeping tabs of a planned demonstration Monday evening during the annual Elvis Week candlelight vigil which brings thousands of visitors from around the world.

Last month, more than one hundred people protested in front of Graceland, briefly blocking traffic on Elvis Presley Blvd. and leading to six arrests.

MPD leaders tell Local 24 they have an adequate amount of officers but can make adjustments as necessary in a planned event between Elvis lovers meeting passionate protesters with many unknowns.

“We intend to continue to protest and demonstrate,” said Al Lewis with the Coalition of Concerned Citizens.  

Lewis, one of the demonstration’s organizers, met with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland Thursday and said it will be non-violent but highlight economic and educational disparities in Whitehaven and other areas of Memphis.

“We want much more than a reduced crime rate. We want people to make a livable wage,” said Lewis.

In a statement reiterated this afternoon, Graceland spokesperson Kevin Kern said:

“As Memphis prepares for the arrival of visitors to celebrate the life and legacy of Elvis Presley, Graceland is actively working with local law enforcement agencies, as it does every year, to ensure the public’s safety and security. We look forward to welcoming the world to our city and showcasing the hospitality that Memphis is known for around the globe.”

Mayor Strickland said he’s confident demonstrators and Elvis fans can share this stretch of real estate respectfully together.

‘I think they ought to keep communication with the police department, I think that would be smart, the police department communicate with them, so that everyone is safe, the citizens protesting, the citizens who are visiting Graceland, and the police officers,” said Strickland.

This afternoon, a City of Memphis spokesperson said no one officially filed for a permit to demonstrate at Graceland Monday but added there would still be time to request such a permit.

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