As of 3 p.m., the blockades near the Gregg County Courthouse in downtown Longview have been removed.

Law enforcement officers who were stationed near the blockades as well as their vehicles also are gone.

Original story:

Downtown Longview streets near the courthouse are blocked of as a "precaution" in response to a possible white supremacy rally, according to the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff's office spokesman Josh Tubb said local law enforcement decided to block off the courthouse area today after the announcement of “a possible rally” several months ago.

“In case there was anyone that showed up, it’s blocked off and ready to go,” he said.

Around 9 a.m., deputies were blocking Center, Whaley, Fredonia and Methvin streets from traffic.

By 10 a.m., Longview police vehicles and sheriff’s deputy vehicles were stationed at some of the barricades.

Anyone walking through the barricaded area is being asked by officers to leave any bags they are carrying. 

Dozens of officers and deputies are patrolling the area, some with K9s. A metal barricade has been added to the front of the courthouse.  

City and Gregg County officials confirmed Thursday that no requests have been filed for such an event event on public property; however, the Aryan Freedom Network, which is planning the conference, had continued to advertise on its website that it would be held today in Longview.

Local law enforcement previously said the situation would be monitored.

Tubb affirmed today that local law enforcement has found “no current credible information” to confirm that the white unity event would occur or where it would occur.

“It’s more prudent to be prepared,” he said. “It was a joint decision from local law enforcement leaders.”

Tubb said he does not know how long the streets will be blocked.

Information about the event began circulating in July. An exact location was not provided on the Aryan Freedom Network website, but the group said it would be “an indoor event” featuring “educational lectures, Aryan folk music and Racial Unity amongst different organizations and individuals from all across North America.” The website — which was designed to feature swastikas, Nazi propaganda, Confederate flags with skulls, pictures of Adolf Hitler and more — said the event was not open to the public but was a private event.

Though city leaders have described the event as “unverified,” the Longview City Council unanimously passed a resolution in July in which it took a stand against racism. In the resolution, the council denounced the event itself and the use of the city’s name in conjunction with an event by a hate group.

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Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.