A Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville, Virginia brought upwards of 50 members and supporters to the streets on Saturday, but they did not receive the reception they were hoping for. According to city spokeswoman Miriam Dickler, the KKK marched straight into a wall of 1000 counterprotesters.
Despite the presence of a heavily-armed police escort, the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa challenged the North Carolina-based Loyal White Nights of the Ku Klux Klan, who rolled into town with robes and loaded weapons–allowed under Virginia’s open-carry law. The city’s mayor urged residents to ignore the racist group, whose stated objective was to protest the removal of a General Robert E. Lee statue from a local park.
Let’s call it out now: bull-f*cking-shit. The KKK is not a historical preservation society; they are a white supremacy preservation society. And this “rally” was an opportunity to flex muscle against the backdrop of an administration that has proven time and time again it won’t stand in the way of hatred, bigotry, and racism.
With taxpayer-funded protection, the KKK weaved through the shouting crowd to their designated location: Justice Park. Or, the park formerly named after Confederate general Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. Chants of “white power” were drowned out by “racists go home,” and signs saying “You Will Not Go Unchallenged” pushed against every offensive. It took all but 40 minutes for the KKK to withdraw from the march.
State police–failing to lead Klan members through the crowd back to their cars–declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and escalated defensive measures. According to Dickler, officers in riot gear donned gas masks, set off three canisters of tear gas, and made approximately 23 arrests.
Pause for a moment and let this sink in: In 2017, the KKK gets a police escort while peaceful protestors get tear gas. Are we making America great again, yet?
— Lacy MacAuley (@lacymacauley) July 8, 2017