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Civil rights activists clash with Pro-Confederate protesters at Georgia’s Stone Mountain


Carrying indicators decrying ‘racist traitors,’ a couple of hundred civil rights activists marched and chanted at Georgia‘s Stone Mountain on Saturday to protest on the return of an annual celebration of the Confederacy.

The protest befell on the foot of a towering monument to the heroes of the South’s pro-slavery previous, as 200 supporters of the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans gathered for its celebration, which it says honors the sacrifices of their forebears.

The Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which runs a part of the sprawling park about 20 miles northeast of Atlanta, canceled the gathering in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the potential for violence on the occasion.

The celebration and protest befell peacefully, with the 2 sides separated by fences and solely interacting by way of shouts. Demonstrators could possibly be heard calling for ‘racial justice’ and proclaiming that ‘black lives matter.’

Members of the pro-Confederate group had been seen adorned with the Southern Cross battle flag, emblazoned on their t-shirts and ironed onto the backs of jackets. 

Civil warfare reenactors set off cannons, and the pro-Confederate demonstrators took off their hats and bowed their heads as Taps was performed to honor the Confederate lives misplaced within the battle.

Counter protesters had been seen carrying Black Lives Matter shirts and carrying indicators, like one which learn ‘Remove Racism from Our Taxpayer-Funded Parks.’

About 200 members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and 100 protesting civil rights activists gathered on the foot of Stone Mountain in Georgia on Saturday at an annual celebration of the Confederacy

Members of the pro-Confederate group were seen adorned with the Southern Cross battle flag, emblazoned on their t-shirts and ironed onto the backs of jackets

Members of the pro-Confederate group had been seen adorned with the Southern Cross battle flag, emblazoned on their t-shirts and ironed onto the backs of jackets

Counter-protesters were seen carrying signs, like one that read 'Remove Racism from Our Taxpayer-Funded Parks'

Counter-protesters had been seen carrying indicators, like one which learn ‘Remove Racism from Our Taxpayer-Funded Parks’

Reenactors are pictured removing their caps as Taps is played to honor the Confederate veterans of the Civil War

Reenactors are pictured eradicating their caps as Taps is performed to honor the Confederate veterans of the Civil War

The event took place at the foot of a 90-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture depicting three Confederate leaders on horseback notched in Stone Mountain's granite face. Pro-Confederate supporters are pictured with their heads bowed in prayer at the event

The occasion befell on the foot of a 90-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture depicting three Confederate leaders on horseback notched in Stone Mountain’s granite face. Pro-Confederate supporters are pictured with their heads bowed in prayer on the occasion

In recent years, tensions between the two sides 'began to create a clear and present danger,' the Stone Mountain Association said in a statement. Even so, it said it would let this year's event go ahead and welcomed peaceful gatherings 'from all quarters'

In current years, tensions between the 2 sides ‘started to create a transparent and current hazard,’ the Stone Mountain Association stated in an announcement. Even so, it stated it could let this 12 months’s occasion go forward and welcomed peaceable gatherings ‘from all quarters’

The Sons of Confederate Veterans say that the statue honors the sacrifices of their forebears

The Sons of Confederate Veterans say that the statue honors the sacrifices of their forebears

An enormous safety presence had been put in, with dozens of state and native police, together with SWAT groups with armored vehicles, and a circling police helicopter.

The Atlanta NAACP and different civil rights supporters tried to shout down the occasion, which it views as a salute to the South’s legacy of racism.

‘We stand towards the celebration of chattel slavery,’ stated Gerald Griggs, state president of the NAACP, earlier than the march started. ‘We can not have a good time the world’s largest monument to white supremacy.’

The occasion befell on the foot of a 90-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture depicting three Confederate leaders on horseback notched in Stone Mountain’s granite face.

Stone Mountain has lengthy held symbolism for white supremacists. The Ku Klux Klan, a hate group fashioned by Confederate Army veterans with a historical past of lynchings and terror towards Black folks, held its rebirth ceremony atop the mountain in 1915 with flaming crosses.

In current years, tensions between the 2 sides ‘started to create a transparent and current hazard,’ the affiliation stated in an announcement. Even so, it stated it could let this 12 months’s occasion go forward and welcomed peaceable gatherings ‘from all quarters.’

Stone Mountain has long held symbolism for white supremacists. The Ku Klux Klan, a hate group formed by Confederate Army veterans with a history of lynchings and terror against Black people, held its rebirth ceremony atop the mountain in 1915 with flaming crosses

Stone Mountain has lengthy held symbolism for white supremacists. The Ku Klux Klan, a hate group fashioned by Confederate Army veterans with a historical past of lynchings and terror towards Black folks, held its rebirth ceremony atop the mountain in 1915 with flaming crosses

Billy Mitchell (pictured center), a black member of the Georgia House of Representatives and President of the state's National Black Caucus of Legislators, spoke at the gathering alongside members of the Atlanta NAACP chapter

Billy Mitchell (pictured middle), a black member of the Georgia House of Representatives and President of the state’s National Black Caucus of Legislators, spoke on the gathering alongside members of the Atlanta NAACP chapter

A group of protesters is pictured making their way to the Confederate Memorial Day event

A gaggle of protesters is pictured making their strategy to the Confederate Memorial Day occasion

Meymoona Freeman of the Stone Mountain Action Alliance is pictured speaking on Saturday

Meymoona Freeman of the Stone Mountain Action Alliance is pictured talking on Saturday

Timothy Pilgrim, the Georgia Division Director of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, spoke at the same time as protesters shouted over him with boos and obscenity-laced calls to ‘shut up.’

‘We are right here about heritage and historical past,’ Pilgrim informed Reuters earlier than the occasion. ‘This has nothing to do about race, we welcome all to our applications.’

Martin O’Toole, a SCV spokesman and keynote speaker on the occasion, can also be a frontrunner within the Charles Martel Society, a self-avowed white nationalist group primarily based in Atlanta.

O’Toole stated the gathering honors those that fought within the 1861-65 American Civil War on the Confederate aspect, which sought to secede from the Union to find out its personal future.

‘The South remembers its useless,’ O’Toole stated. ‘They had been the patriots of their day.’

Richard Rose, the NAACP’s Atlanta chapter president, stated he personally needed to see the photographs of General Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson faraway from the mountain.

Richard Rose, the NAACP's Atlanta chapter president, said he personally wanted to see the images of General Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and General Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson removed from the mountain

Richard Rose, the NAACP’s Atlanta chapter president, stated he personally needed to see the photographs of General Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson faraway from the mountain

Civil war reenactors set off cannons, and the pro-Confederate demonstrators took off their hats and bowed their heads as Taps was played to honor the Confederate lives lost in the conflict

Civil warfare reenactors set off cannons, and the pro-Confederate demonstrators took off their hats and bowed their heads as Taps was performed to honor the Confederate lives misplaced within the battle

He stated it was clear to him that the memorial service is a glorification of the pro-slavery trigger.

‘We should be there and stand towards this,’ Rose stated. ‘Silence provides consent they usually glorify a previous of chattel slavery and its horrendous violence towards humanity.’  

Billy Mitchell, a black member of the Georgia House of Representatives and President of the state’s National Black Caucus of Legislators, additionally spoke on the gathering. 

Although the park has traditionally been a gathering spot for white supremacists, the adjoining metropolis of Stone Mountain has a majority-Black inhabitants as we speak.

The park at Stone Mountain markets itself as a household theme park quite than a shrine to the ‘Lost Cause’ mythology that romanticizes the Confederacy as chivalrous defenders of states’ rights.

It’s a well-liked recreation spot for a lot of households on the east aspect of Atlanta, with climbing trails, a golf course, boat leases and different sights. The park has lengthy been identified for its laser gentle reveals.



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