Scenes from July 18 KKK rally at the South Carolina statehouse. All photos by Bickel. Click on image for larger version.
Saturday, July 18th, a few dozen people associated with North Carolina’s Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan piled into their Klown Kars and made the trip to Columbia, South Carolina to rally in protest of the recent removal of the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds. In what is either a case of absolutely dreadful planning or some statehouse staffer’s idea of a joke, a permit was also granted for a rally of Black Educators for Justice, a New Black Panther Party affiliated group, for the same day.
Though the rally for Black Educators for Justice, held earlier in the day on the North face of the statehouse grounds, was sparsely attended, by the 3:00 pm when it was time for the KKK to rally on the South face of the grounds, a few thousand counter-protesters had arrived. Dozens of uniformed officers created a perimeter to allow the Klansmen entrance to a double-barricaded “free speech zone” without being attacked by the counter-protesters who were not at all happy about the Klan’s presence.
The majority of pro-flag protesters were from out of state, the bulk of the group, being comprised of the North Carolina Klan chapter. Some protesters held a banner of the Neo-Nazi NSM, based out of Detroit. Four of the protesters identified themselves as being from Sumter, South Carolina but denied, at least earlier—in front of the barricades—that they were affiliated with the KKK.
Having no PA and being far removed from the crowd of much-louder counter-protesters, the Klansmen could basically only yell and point and attempt to bait the crowd. They came off a bit like wrestling “heels” with their baiting, which would have been actually hilarious if the spectacle weren’t so seriously pathetic. One skinhead made monkey sounds to mock African-American counter-protesters. After an hour or so of police-protected slurring of the crowd, the group attempted to leave the statehouse grounds under guard. The police could not prevent some violence and scuffles.
The counter-protesters chased the Klan members from the statehouse area with cops trying to keep up and prevent violence.
According to one eyewitness the Klan and associates were chased into a parking garage to the top floor where there was very little police protection. Confederate flags were ripped from the hands of the protesters, and some were, according to the witness, “given a little chin music.” After being let out of the parking garage in their vehicles, under the protection of police, one Klan member tried to speed off and hit a pole or tree. The driver was almost pulled from vehicle by the crowd, but police showed up and interjected. According to the witness, “a pop or two was given and a window or two smashed, then after being protected by police, the Klansman was allowed to leave. Overall the crowd, and surprisingly the police, were very restrained.”
Police arrested five people: one for disorderly conduct, two for simple assault and two for breach of peace.
Here is a gallery of photos from the event. Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.
This skinhead climbed the North face statehouse steps while the Black Power group was setting up their podium, and seig-heiled the crowd.
Protesters gathered for the Black Educators for Justice rally that occurred just before the KKK rally.
Anti-flag protester, John Holmes. See video at bottom of this article for an exchange between him and the seig-heiling skinhead.
These protesters identified themselves as being from Sumter, SC—but did not claim KKK affiliation.
More heritage, not hate, after the jump…