KKK and black protestors collide outside South Carolina Statehouse
Saturday, members of the Ku Klux Klan and black protestors came head to head on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse during separate rallies staged by the two groups.
Black Educators for Justice, a group based in Jacksonville, Florida, held its rally where the Confederate flag was removed earlier this month, calling on politicians to do more than just bring down a flag.
On the opposite side of the building, the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan came out in full force to condemn the governor’s decision to remove what they believe is a symbol of their heritage.
The S.C. Department of Public Safety estimated the crowd at approximately 2,000. Spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli said at least three people were arrested.
Although organizers in both camps promised they would steer clear of each other, eventually tensions flared and emotional outbursts broke out between the groups.
Anti-white supremacy protesters burned the confederate flag in front of the statehouse steps, while on the other side a woman clutching a confederate flag was seen sobbing in anger. Two men who were involved in a scuffle were led away by police but overall the violence was kept at bay.
In a moment that showed there may be hope for better days, Leroy Smith, who is the director of the S.C. Department of Public Safety – and also black – was seen helping a white man wearing a T-shirt bearing the swastika get out of the heat.
Earlier this week, Gov. Nikki Haley urged residents to avoid the KKK rally, stating that doing so would honor the nine people shot and killed at a predominantly black church in Charleston last month.
Watch full coverage of the rallies below.