Angry clashes in South Carolina as Ku Klux Klan and New Black Panther Party come face-to-face in battle over Confederate flag
- Around 300 KKK members are protesting the removal of Confederate flag from South Carolina’s statehouse
- But 400 New Black Panther Party members are opposing them, and slam the flag removal as ‘illusion of progress’
- Police out in force to ensure the groups stay well apart, no weapons are allowed within 250 feet of the statehouse
- The opposing rallies come a month after racist 21-year-old Dylann Roof shot dead 9 black people in Charleston
Angry clashes have erupted between members of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party as both groups rally at the South Carolina statehouse.
Confederate flags were stolen and ripped up to cheers and applause from the New Black Panther demonstrators – while KKK members stood on the steps of the capitol performing Nazi salutes.
The white supremacists came out in force on Saturday afternoon to condemn the governor’s decision to remove the Confederate Flag due to its associations with racial hatred.
Countering their demonstration, around 400 people with links to the New Black Panther Party marched in the name of racial equality – calling on politicians to do more than simply bring down a flag.
Although leaders insisted they would steer clear of one another, disputes were soon breaking out between off-shoots.
Protest: A woman clutching a Confederate flag during a KKK rally in South Carolina wails as emotions run high
Symbol: A man is captured burning a Confederate flag in front of the statehouse steps surrounded by other anti-white supremacy protesters
A second man holds up the burning Confederate flag in front of photographers
Countering: A man holds a black power salute during the Black Educators for Justice rally, which has ties with The New Black Panther Party, on Saturday. His sweater sends a message to the pro-Confederate marchers
A man gives a Nazi salute on the steps of the capitol as the group says they should not be blamed for the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, last month when pro-Confederacy Dylann Roof killed nine black people
A member of a white supremacist group yells at opposing protesters during the New Black Panther Party and Ku Klux Klan rallies on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol in Columbia, where the Confederate flag was taken down from its pole
A heavily-tattooed Klu Klux Klan member, covered in Swastkias, stands alongside white-supremacists outside the Columbia capital
A young boy is taken away from the parade by his Klu Klux Klan father. One man wears a t-shirt saying: ‘It’s a white thing. You wouldn’t understand’
Around 300 people came to the state capitol in Columbia to march for racial equality bearing stars and stripes
One police officer was seen holding a white man in a Confederate flag to the ground screaming for assistance. Other officers were seen in tactical gear in case the protests boiled over.
According to the Charleston Post-Courier, there were three fights that police were forced to break up.
It is the latest clash in Columbia, SC, following the racist shooting of nine black churchgoers at the hands of 21-year-old pro-Confederacy Dylann Roof last month.
The attack prompted nationwide calls for leaders to condemn the Confederate flag as a symbol of racial hatred. One hundred and fifty years old, it was used by the seven southern slave states during the civil war. Its racist associations were refreshed during the civil rights movement, when anti-integration state flew the Confederate flag in defiance.
Many of the southern states, where the flag remains prominent, agreed and moved the flag to a museum – notably including South Carolina.
But hitting back, around 300 Ku Klux Klan members applied for a rally permit to swarm the Capitol grounds on Saturday afternoon.
GRAPHIC: Klan members hurl racist abuse at protesters
An automated message on the Loyal White Knights’s answering machine said: ‘We will be at the statehouse in Columbia, S.C., standing up for our Confederate history and all the southerners who fought and died against federal tyranny.
‘Our government is trying to erase white culture and our heritage right out of the pages of history books.’
Meanwhile Black Educators for Justice leader James Evans Muhammad, a former director of the New Black Panther Party, had his own gripes with the historic move.
‘The flag coming down is not progress. It is an illusion of progress,’ Muhammad told The State. ‘Ever since slavery started in America, whites have the privilege of freedom that blacks in South Carolina do not have.
An elderly woman holds her face after getting injured in the ensuing chaos. A police officer and a man help her to safety
Blood is seen coming out her of nose as she makes her way through the crowds on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse
The same man standing on the statehouse steps raises the Nazi salute while surrounded by police officers and cameras
Law enforcement personnel, heavily armed and wearing body armor, try to keep opposing sides apart during the demonstrations
Fears: Police were out in force on Saturday to ensure the conflicting groups did not start fighting
Dispute: A man shrouded in a Confederate flag appears to have terse words with anti-Confederate protesters
The group, which erupted into chants of ‘black power’, said the flag ceremony was an ‘illusion of progress’
Justice for the next generation: People came out with their children to show why racial equality matters
Police officers walk alongside white-supremacy protesters in a bid to keep relative calm during the demonstrations
Protesters yell at a group of Ku Klux Klan supporters during a rally at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina
‘White privilege had stuck a knife in black people back in South Carolina and America as a whole. You can’t pull a 12-inch knife out two inches and call that progress.’
The New Black Panthers-linked groups started rallying at 2pm with about 200 people.
Many held African flags as speakers addressed the crowds who shouted back: ‘Black power! Black power!’
‘Equality is more important than a symbol of hate,’ Justice Boats, of the Black Lawyers For Justice, told the crowds.
Their demonstration was only meant to overlap with the KKK for an hour at 3pm – but as of 5pm both groups remained out in force, with many coming to join each side.
Some Confederate flag bearers insisted they did not condone the KKK’s values but merely joined the KKK-organized rally to show their support for ‘Southern heritage’.
Stan Stones, a Baptist minister, told MSNBC that the KKK ‘hijacked [the flag] in the mid-1950s, and they made it a symbol of hate.’
He added: ‘Southern heritage has nothing to do with hate – it has to do with honoring those who fought [in the Civil War].’
Reporters at the scene said New Black Panther Party members grabbed a Confederate flag and ripped it up
Police keep protesters back near a vehicle driven by a Klu Klux Klan member who knocked into a lamppost at the scene
For the South Carolinan KKK supporters, the Confederate flag symbolized their heritage and their beliefs
A protester holds the Confederate flag over his shoulder in the midst of the demonstrations
A white supremacist poses with a Nazi salute on the steps of the statehouse with a statue of George Washington in the foreground
Protesters hold up an enormous anti-white supremacy banner in front of the statehouse. It depicts a cross going through a character in a Klu Klux Kan robe
The huge sign was draped across the floor during the demonstration. Initial reports suggest three fights broke out in front of the statehouse
A South Carolina State Trooper yells for protesters to get back after a member of the Ku Klux Klan crashed into a light pole
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