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Asheville: From ‘the Paris of the South’ to notably violent city with terror alerts
Monday, 15 February 2021 11:28

After calling city ‘a disgrace,’ protest group (without a permit?) marches, blocks traffic, makes noise, taunts

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Asheville, which for nearly two centuries has been known far and wide as “the Paris of the South” for its charm and beauty, now ranks in the top 10 percent in violent crime among U.S. cities, and things have gotten so ugly it even has a “terror alert system” that made its debut on Feb. 8.

Similar to the Amber Alert system for child abduction, the Skyline News Terror Report for  Downtown Asheville issued an alert Feb. 8 with a series of ominous beeping sounds, followed by a stern warning to the citizenry, tourists and businesses, noting that Asheville’s Antifa group had unveiled plans to hold a protest — that, based on history, could turn violent — beginning at 6 that evening.

About 200 black-clad people, almost all white and appearing angry and in the age range of 20 to 35, showed up for the protest, which, despite warnings to the contrary, resulted in no reports of violence, injury or property damage.

The protest, lasting almost two hours, feaured the group believed to be Antifa (which bills itself as anti-fascist) marching around downtown and chanting slogans that included: 

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, hotels have got to go!”

Covering the protest, Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported, “The crowd protested a variety of things, but (the) Tuesday (Feb. 9) night’s public hearing on new hotel guidelines was one of its main focuses. 

“City officials implemented a moratorium on new hotels about a year and a half ago. That moratorium is set to end later this month.”

The protesters also stopped at various luxury hotels, such as Kimpton Hotel Arras, AC Hotel Asheville Downtown, Aloft Asheville Downtown and The Foundry Hotel Asheville, where they cranked up the noise level with the percussion instruments they were carrying,

Another issue protested involved  a recent incident wherein some homeless people were evicted by state Department of Transportation officials from their tents under the I-240 bridge along North Lexington Avenue during frigid weather.

On occasion, some protesters were captured on video taunting and heckling bystanders — and they blocked traffic and refused to let anyone through. In one case, an impatient driver who was blocked by the marchers apparently irritated a protester, who, at least two sources said, walked up, surrounded by other protesters, and slapped his hand viciously on the vehicle’s hood. The exasperated driver reportedly stayed in his/her car. The sources said there was no apparent dent inflicted by the protester..

The following is the text of the Asheville first-ever terror alert, which is provided with a female voice:

“This is a downtown Asheville terror report, brought to you by downtown businesses.

“For Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, at approximately 6 p.m., business-owners want citizens and travelers to be aware that Antifa plan on disrupting restaurants and hotels in downtown Asheville

“Local Antifa social media is inciting violence toward police officers, citizens and travelers.

“Expect rioting, building damage and blocking of Asheville city streets.

“If you need help, private security will be visibly seen at several downtown businesses.”



News 13 reported that “the crowd started at City-County Plaza and then marched around downtown, carrying pots, pans and instruments to make noise,” stopping at prominent hotels to create the maximum-possible disturbance.

“The protesters blocked streets every time they stopped,” News 13 noted. “Asheville police were out patrolling throughout the night. At times, officers directed traffic, but they seemed to have little direct interaction with the crowd.”

Meanwhile, Michael Cobbledick, a Christian evangelist who videotaped the event using Facebook streaming (and the Daily Planet viewed the video on Skyline News’ website), stated succinctly the following summary of the protest in a text:

“AVL Protesters angry about addict tent community being removed from private land. Angry at hotels, city council and APD. 

“A bunch of the same people who were in the AVL BLM & Antifa protests all last year in 2020... I’m out sharing the Gospel of Jesus with a bunch of broken, hurting kids.”

Cobbledick also stated that the protesters “demanded that City Council reinstate its hotel moratorium.”

And he said they are protesting “police and CC (City Council) are criminalizing homelessness by not providing through socialism enough housing for the homeless..This is also an anti-cop protest... A bunch of angry 18- to 35-plus people who don’t feel they have a voice join together with others to promote their communist agenda.”

Cobbledick added, “It’s funny that so many people who are against government ... want the government to pay for everything.”

Elsewhere, Chad Nesbitt, owner and lead reporter for Skyline News (and who suffered traumatic brain injury last year in an attack during a protest), told the Daily Planet on Feb. 10 he personally would have covered the event except that he still cannot stand up straight as a result of his injury at the hands of Antifa. Therefore, Nesbitt felt he is not quite ready yet to return to livestreaming events on Facebook, but “can’t wait” until he is well enough to cover Antifa and Black Lives Matter protests.

One of Nesbitt’s top concens about the Feb. 8 protest is that the group “didn’t have a (city) permit to do it.” In a follow-up interview just before the Daily Planet went to press on Feb. 11, Nesbitt noted that his knowledge that the group did not purchase a city parade permit, as required for such protests, is based on corroboration from “insiders” at the APD who require anonymity and are his friends. He said he is “absolutely certain” that no permit was issued.

He added that he also is “absolutely certain” that the city would shut prosecute any other group holding a demonstration without a permit — other than the two that stand out in his mind as most dangerous — Antifa and BLM.

The Daily Planet contacted Christina Hallingse, public information officer for the APD, on both Feb. 10 and 11 for confirmation or denial on whether the protesters had a permit for the Feb, 8 protest, but was unable to get a return call before the newspaper’s early-morning Feb. 11 press deadline.

Nesbitt cautioned that “it’s only going to get worse, as the weather warms up,” referring tos the frequency of protests by Antifa and/or BLM.

As for criticisms from citizens, tourists and businesses that the APD simply stood and watched — and did not crack down on law-breaking by the protesters, Nesbitt said, “The command staff and the chief of police (David Zack) are totally supportive” of Mayor Esther Manheimer and council’s coddling of Antifa and BLM. He lamented that Asheville has a one-party system, with the jobs of mayor and council filled by all Democrats — for years.

Regarding Antifa and BLM, he asserted, “They’re the exact same (in their violence and anonymity) as white supremecists... They like to cause anarchy.”

Nesbitt added, “From the late 1800s to the early 1970s, the militant wing of the Democratic Party was the Ku Klux Klan. Now the militant wing (of the Dems) is Antifa and BLM.” He said that is the likely reason that Asheville’s all-Democrat leadership is giving those two organizations a pass on breaking the city’s laws.

Further, he said, “I think the days of Ashevllle — as far as ‘normalcy’ is concerned — are over... It’s so bad in downtown Asheville that business-owners have to hire their own security” because they cannot look to the APD for defense. He also lamented that downtown business-owners have told him that their insurance rates have gone way up as a result of the number of protests this past year resulting in violence, injury and property damage.

Also, while Nesbitt said he is certain that those protesting Feb. 8 were from Antifa, based on finding flyers for the event only on what he termed “known” Antifa websites, along with viewing Cobbledick’s video of the protest, where he saw the prototypic all-black attire, gear, umbrellas and tactics of the group, the Daily Planet was unable to corroborate with Antifa that it was an Antifa protest.

Antifa members maintain anonymity outside of the group, so the Daily Planet had no source to contact Antifa for its side of the story. 

As for his terror alert system, Nesbitt said, “I was asked by seven different businesses in downtown Asheville, as a group, to put out ‘terror alerts” — and I agreed to do it.”

Nesbitt said he recorded 12, 557 views, as of his count on Feb. 10, on his first terror alert.

Nesbitt reiterated that the terror alert sysem can be accessed — and joined —on the internet at “Skyline News Facebook” or by visiting

At this point, he said his only terror alerts would be for protests by Antifa or BLM, based on what he called their history of violence and disruption. “It’s an epidemic,” Nesbitt said.

Regarding rumors of a local conservative pushback against Antifa and BLM, Nesbitt, who also has a history of conservative activism, advised, “Don’t go near the Antifa crowd! Let the ‘law’ handle it! Don’t do anything to embarrass normal, pro-Trump supporters!”

Nesbitt also said (and asked to be quoted), “We need to get the Asheville City Council to get off their asses — and let the police officers on the street do their jobs....”



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