Angry clashes in South Carolina between Klu Klux Klan and New Black Panther Party on Confederate flag

Angry clashes have erupted between members of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party as both groups rally at the South Carolina statehouse.

Confederate flags were stolen and ripped up to cheers and applause from the New Black Panther demonstrators – while KKK members stood on the steps of the capitol performing Nazi salutes.

The white supremacists came out in force on Saturday afternoon to condemn the governor’s decision to remove the Confederate Flag due to its associations with racial hatred.

Countering their demonstration, around 400 people with links to the New Black Panther Party marched in the name of racial equality – calling on politicians to do more than simply bring down a flag.

Although leaders insisted they would steer clear of one another, disputes were soon breaking out between off-shoots.

One police officer was seen holding a white man in a Confederate flag to the ground screaming for assistance. Other officers were seen in tactical gear in case the protests boiled over.

According to the Charleston Post-Courier, there were three fights that police were forced to break up.

It is the latest clash in Columbia, SC, following the racist shooting of nine black churchgoers at the hands of 21-year-old pro-Confederacy Dylann Roof last month.

The attack prompted nationwide calls for leaders to condemn the Confederate flag as a symbol of racial hatred. One hundred and fifty years old, it was used by the seven southern slave states during the civil war. Its racist associations were refreshed during the civil rights movement, when anti-integration state flew the Confederate flag in defiance.

Many of the southern states, where the flag remains prominent, agreed and moved the flag to a museum – notably including South Carolina.

But hitting back, around 300 Ku Klux Klan members applied for a rally permit to swarm the Capitol grounds on Saturday afternoon.

‘They cannot punish everyone for what one man did,’ Amanda Barker, Imperial Officer of Loyal White Knights, told NBC News.

An automated message on the Loyal White Knights’s answering machine said: ‘We will be at the statehouse in Columbia, S.C., standing up for our Confederate history and all the southerners who fought and died against federal tyranny.

‘Our government is trying to erase white culture and our heritage right out of the pages of history books.’

Meanwhile Black Educators for Justice leader James Evans Muhammad, a former director of the New Black Panther Party, had his own gripes with the historic move.

‘The flag coming down is not progress. It is an illusion of progress,’ Muhammad told The State. ‘Ever since slavery started in America, whites have the privilege of freedom that blacks in South Carolina do not have.

‘White privilege had stuck a knife in black people back in South Carolina and America as a whole. You can’t pull a 12-inch knife out two inches and call that progress.’

The New Black Panthers-linked groups started rallying at 2pm with about 200 people.

Many held African flags as speakers addressed the crowds who shouted back: ‘Black power! Black power!’

‘Equality is more important than a symbol of hate,’ Justice Boats, of the Black Lawyers For Justice, told the crowds.

Their demonstration was only meant to overlap with the KKK for an hour at 3pm – but as of 5pm both groups remained out in force, with many coming to join each side.

Some Confederate flag bearers insisted they did not condone the KKK’s values but merely joined the KKK-organized rally to show their support for ‘Southern heritage’.

Stan Stones, a Baptist minister, told MSNBC that the KKK ‘hijacked [the flag] in the mid-1950s, and they made it a symbol of hate.’

He added: ‘Southern heritage has nothing to do with hate – it has to do with honoring those who fought [in the Civil War].’

Source: The DailyMail

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