North America & Oceania

Published on July 17th, 2017 | by Sarah Lafen

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Protesters Rally Against KKK March in Virginia

By Sarah Lafen
Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, North America

 

WASHINGTON D.C., United States — Over one thousand protesters met the Ku Klux Klan in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia as the white supremacist group prepared for a march through the town protesting the city’s decision to take down a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a public park.  The anti-KKK protesters outnumbered the KKK members, and held signs that denounced racism and promoted racial tolerance.

Counter-protesters shout at members of the KKK at their rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (Photo Courtesy of CBS News)

Members of the Loyal White Knights chapter of the KKK, which is based in Pelham, North Carolina, wore robes, hoods, and carried the Confederate flags.  One member carried a poster that read “Stop the cultural genocide of white people!” while others shouted “white power.”  The organization claimed that the removal of the Lee statue is part of a wider effort to eliminate white history.  One member, James Moore, believes that “[t]hey’re trying to erase the white culture right out of the history books.”

In response to the rally, city officials organized events in other parts of the city and encouraged city residents to stay clear of the KKK members.  However, many residents still showed up at the rally to make sure their voices were heard.  A professor at the University of Virginia who is among those calling for the removal of the Lee statue, Jalane Schmidt, commented that it was important for her to be at the rally “because the Klan was ignored in the 1920s and they metastasized.” Schmidt emphasized that the KKK needs to know “that their ideology is not acceptable.”

Over one hundred police officers were at the rally to help maintain order.  After the rally concluded, officers led several people away in handcuffs and asked large groups to disperse.  Officers also declared the counter-protesters to be an “unlawful assembly” and used gas canisters to coerce them out of the area.

 

For more information, please see:

CBS News — At Virginia KKK Rally, Counter-protesters show up in Droves — 8 July 2017

USA Today — KKK Rally in Charlottesville met with Throng of Protestors — 8 July 2017

The Washington Post — Ku Klux Klan Rally Begins Amid Tension in Charlottesville — 8 July 2017

Yahoo News — KKK Marchers in Virginia Town met by Throngs of Counter-protesters — 8 July 2017

 

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