A group of counter-protestors were arrested following a clash of protestors and white nationalists in Georgia, leading many to denounce authorities as they reportedly protected those who took part in a ‘pro-white’ rally at Stone Mountain Park.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the incident happened Saturday morning (April 23) when a group of white nationalists gathered to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day. Dates vary from state to state, but the observance honors those who died in the Confederate army during the Civil War.
“Rock Stone Mountain,” the group responsible for the rally, intended to have thousands present but only a few dozen showed up. An estimated 300 counter-protestors arrived at the rally and demonstrated on the opposite side of the barricade. Police reportedly tried to keep the group separated, which led to push back from both sides.
— AJC (@ajc) April 23, 2016
Eight to nine counter-protestors were arrested for reportedly failing to take their masks off. Two counter-protestors were also accused of throwing firecrackers and pepper-spraying a police officer. It isn’t known if they were among those arrested.
The park remained open for the rest of the day but attractions such as the amusement park and laser show were canceled. Despite the group being out numbered, they believed the rally was a success. “They didn’t win,” participant Joseph Andrews , 37, of Kennesaw said. “They didn’t shut us down. We had a successful, peaceful rally.”
Members of the counter-protests claimed their efforts were peaceful. “Ninety-nine percent of the protesters are peaceful, but this is what they gonna show on the news,” protestor Katherine Thilo said. Church member Scott Maddox added, “I came here for a peaceful rally. When you start throwing rocks… that is not what this is about. We are not gonna be a part of that.” Other participants took to Twitter to voice their frustration on the portrayal of demonstrators.
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) April 23, 2016