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(en) US, Blacksburg, South Carolina, alt media: Anti-racists (ARA) protest the Klan

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 27 Sep 2003 14:23:34 +0200 (CEST)

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(Sept. 23)-- As a march of about 45 Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
members and supporters passed down a small street in
Blacksburg, South Carolina on September 20, they were
confronted by a small but rowdy contingent of the newly formed
Asheville, North Carolina chapter of Anti-Racist Action (ARA).
The protesters were armed with colorful banners saying such
things as "Save our land, smash the Klan" and "Klan out of the
Carolinas", a tiny boom box that assaulted the racists' ears with
hip hop, the chaotic sound of drum sticks hitting the sidewalk and
a mix of angry chants and an array of profanities. The Klan,
donned in their traditional robes and hoods, responded to the ARA
group with such remarks as "communists" and "race traitors." The
Klan was supposedly holding a rally that Saturday in order to
"shed light on the crimes committed by the black community of
Blacksburg that were being covered up by the Jewish media." A
small bloc of probably 5 to 6 neo-nazis marched in the rear of the
march. The fascists carried large red flags that had the swastika
in the center of them; this bloc drew exceptional loud taunting by
the anti-racists. "I can't even remember all the shit I said to those
motherfuckers. It was just like the second I saw their hateful
faces, I totally lost control over myself," one ARA member said
after the protest. The Cherokee County sheriff's department had
told the anti-racists that they could say whatever they liked to the
Klan, but they had to follow the marchers along the sidewalks,
and that if ARA caused any trouble, the police would not hesitate
to arrest them all. So, following what they thought to be the rules,
ARA continued to verbally assault the racists walking a few
yards behind. A few minutes later the march passed by a parking
lot where about 30 black and white local youth had gathered to
demand that the Klan "get the hell out of our town." The locals
soon joined in with the group from Asheville on their slow march
behind the racists. At this point, two police officers stopped the
counter-demonstrators and told them that Blacksburg had a city
ordinance against profanity and that the next time they heard a
bad word, "someone was going to go to jail." One elderly white
woman began to shout "Black Power!" as she raised a clenched
fist into the air. The march culminated with a 20 minute rally in a
nearby park that saw Klansman after Klansman incoherently
ramble about preserving the white race and so on. Just before
ARA entered the park, the police stopped them and informed them
that they were not allowed to go into the park and cause trouble.
The cops said that if they wanted to yell and make speeches
against the Klan they must first obtain a permit. "It's shit, what
those cops said about getting permits. Like the city would really
give us a permit to march the same route and rally at the same
place on the same day as them," said one ARAer later that day.
Intent on causing some sort of ruckus, an ARA activist hung the
boom box from a post and blared the hip hop at the rally, until once
again the police ended the protesters' fun by saying that the boom
box was in fact a violation of the noise ordinance. At one point a
protester thought he recognized famous white supremacist Bob
White and began to shout, "Hey Bob! Hey Bob!" at a man that
was taking pictures of ARA. The man said that he was an
undercover cop, and then ran off when the ARAer continued to
harass him. Finally, frustrated by just sitting around while the
Klan preached hate, the protesters made their way back to their
cars and left the town. "I think it's really weird how the cops will
protect the rights of terrorists like the Klan and Nazis, yet they
totally crush our free speech," one protester commented on the
way to their vehicles.
Source: Asheville Global Report, www.agrnews.org

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