Protestors from Charlottesville and throughout Virginia flooded Justice Park near the city’s Downtown Mall today in preparation for the Ku Klux Klan rally originally scheduled at 3 p.m. this afternoon.
Groups like Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Antifascist of the Seven Hills (ANTIFA), Black Lives Matter (BLM), and the Charlottesville Clergy Collection all gathered around the monument of Stonewall Jackson to protest the appearance of the group – known for the murder, terrorization, and intimidation of African American communities.
Accompanied by whistles, megaphones, horns, and a large brass band that played music for nearly three hours the counter-protesters remained motivated and engaged for the duration of the rally. Although the Klan had anticipated 80 to 100 members to appear, no more than 30 members surfaced to protest the pending removal of the Civil War monuments, which were voted by the city to be removed this past April.
The Klan members only remained in the park for around an hour while shouting phrases like, “white power,” and were met with opposing chants such as, “Racists go home.”
Eye-witness accounts suggest that around 20 people from the counter-protest were arrested attempting to block Klan members from entering the designated rally area. Other than these arrests, the counter-protest was an otherwise peaceful gathering, which included upwards of 300 or more people.
Nonetheless, a heavy police presence allowed Klan members to enter and exit the park unharmed while ensuring order throughout the surrounding area. During the event, police were fully equipped with riot gear and automatic weapons in preparation for any potential incident. Although arrests were made, the police mainly contained their activities to crowd control.
RVA Mag’s inside look at some of the most impactful photos of the day can be found below:
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*Photos by Landon Shroder, Charles Rasputin, and Madelyne Ashworth