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Community sends message of #NewnanStrong ahead of Saturday's neo-Nazi rally

A sidewalk etched with love is a not-so-subtle message spread brightly across the streets of Newnan.

NEWNAN, Ga. — On the eve of a day when demonstrators and counter demonstrators are expected to fill historic downtown Newnan Saturday afternoon during a Neo-Nazi rally, a community is sending a strong message to the outsiders.

Friday night, there were families, music laughter and prayer tying the small community together to stand up against what many residents call the hate that will fill it Saturday.

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A sidewalk etched with love is a not-so-subtle message spread brightly across the streets of Newnan. It's intended to snuff out what residents like Abba Howard are calling hate.

"Tomorrow, we have different groups of people coming to spread hate," she told 11Alive's Natisha Lance.

On the eve of the rally, the area is not only barricaded, but fenced off to separate counter protestors from the 150 demonstrators expected to converge on the city to spread their message.

"We all had our little irrational moment where we just didn’t know why," Howard explained.

So, why Newnan?

It’s a question 11Alive asked Jeff Schoep, the organizer of the rally, over the phone.

He said it was due to local support in the area.

But residents think that that’s just made up. And what the people of Newnan want to focus on is coming together as Newnan strong.

"We're strong. We’re just all trying to fall under the same title because that’s what we’re about. It’s all about unity," residents said. So strong it even started trending on Twitter.

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Organizers Nathan Brain and Derek Riede came up with it when planning the event about a week ago.

"We just wanted to shift the attention away from the negative and put it on the positive," they said.

The hope from everyone Lance spoke with is that it will be peaceful and their community keeps up with this trend of unity.

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