Members Of The KKK And Black Panthers Clash At South Carolina Statehouse Rallies
Members of the Loyal White Knights and Ku Klux Klan gathered at the Statehouse grounds in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday (July 18) to protest its historic removal of the Confederate flag. Tensions rose at the rally when the KKK was met by an earlier protest by leaders of Black Educators for Justice and the Black Panthers, "Countering the Attack on Black Unity Rally." According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, five people were arrested, according to NBC News.
A crowd of 2,000 were tallied at the State House, including active protesters as well as onlookers. Scuffled between the groups took place, despite state police placing themselves between the KKK and Black Panthers, CNN reports. With some of the 50 KKK members sporting Nazi symbolism, racial slurs were spewed. A group of people also allegedly grabbed a Confederate flag and ripped it apart.
Local news station ABC Columbia spoke with one KKK member regarding the rally, in which he defended the Confederate flag against the widespread notion that it represents racism.
"The Confederate flag does not represent hate, a lot of Americans died for that flag," he said.
The five people arrested face charges including disorderly conduct, simple assault and breach of peace.