Justice

Scenes From The KKK Confederate Flag Rally In South Carolina

CREDIT: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Ku Klux Klan supporters and Confederate flag opponents clashed in front of the South Carolina Statehouse on Saturday after members of the KKK held a rally protesting the July 10 removal of the Confederate flag.


South Carolina lawmakers elected to remove the Confederate battle flag from state grounds after nine black worshippers were gunned down inside the historically black Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. The flag sparked public outcry and a subsequent media firestorm after the accused gunman, Dylann Storm Roof, posed with the flag in photos posted on a now-defunct website, the lastrhodesian.com.

On Saturday, about 50 members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan gathered outside the capital, according to the State. Accompanied by other sympathizers including the Detroit-based neo-Nazi Socialist Movement, they “waved Confederate flags, banners with swastikas and shouted ‘white power,’ hurling racist comments at angry counter-protesters who shouted back.”


Meanwhile, the Black Educators for Justice, a Florida-based group run by the former director of the New Black Panther Party, organized a counter-protest to the KKK rally. The KKK members and Confederate flag supporters yelled racial slurs at attendees from the Black Educators for Justice rally, MSNBC reports. “Those protesters were moved behind barricades, a distance away from the Statehouse steps, where they yelled back at the pro-Confederate flag group.”


The crowd reached around 2,000 at its peak, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. Authorities ended the rally an hour early. Five people were arrested and at least one physical clash broke out. Photos also emerged of protesters tearing up a Confederate flag.



In a Facebook post, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) implored South Carolinians to stay “away from the disruptive, hateful spectacle members of the Ku Klux Klan hope to create over the weekend and instead focus on what brings us together.”

Statement regarding the out of state KKK rally at the statehouse on Saturday: The strength and grace the people of South…

Posted by Nikki Haley on Thursday, July 16, 2015

While Saturday’s KKK rally managed to capture the attention of local and national news outlets, the modern Klan is a shadow of what it once was. Klan membership has dramatically declined over the past century — from four million in the 1920s to about 4,000 today. Once a powerful and feared organization with millions of members, the Klan now often parachutes into racially charged events in a bid to recruit new members.

Indeed, even the Loyal White Knights of Pelham, N.C. — which call themselves “the largest Klan in America” — have fewer than 100 members, according to Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“The Klan today is weak, poorly led, divided internally, and without any political support whatsoever, so it is radically different from the Klan of history,” he told the Christian Science Monitor. “[They are] injecting themselves into the conversation because they know they will get national and even international publicity.”