Published: Sun, July 09, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Ku Klux Klan rally attracts large counterprotest in Charlottesville

Ku Klux Klan rally attracts large counterprotest in Charlottesville

Having policed similarly large events, such as the Occupy Charlottesville protest in 2011, Lewis said Charlottesville police are confident they can handle the situation. The group rallied for about 40 minutes before they headed to where their vehicles were parked.

A Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, drew about 50 Klan members and supporters Saturday - and several hundred counterprotesters, authorities said.

Charlottesville leaders took precautionary steps ahead of the rally, with police installing barricades surrounding the park while city officials urged people to avoid direct confrontation with the group. After a group of protesters formed a line across High Street near the city courthouses, police shot three tear gas canisters into the crowd around 5 p.m.

Twenty-three people were arrested.

The department has requested assistance from the Albemarle County Police Department, University of Virginia Police Department, Charlottesville Sheriff's Office, Charlottesville Fire Department, Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad and Virginia State Police.

A woman who had been tear gassed is helped away
A woman who was tear-gassed during the protests

Charlottesville, a small city of about 43,000 people, is home to former President Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home and the university he founded, the University of Virginia. "Why can't we have a wall around ours?", said Douglas Barker, one of a few Klan members who spoke to reporters. A slate of alternative events was organized to give people other outlets and avoid drawing attention to the Klan. "That has made us a target for groups that hate that change and want to stay in the past, but we will not be intimidated".

The city council voted in April to remove the Lee statue and sell it by taking bids, CNN affiliate WVIR reported.

Arriving at Justice Park (formerly named after Stonewall Jackson) around 3:45 p.m., Klan members waved Confederate flags and held signs.

This is not the first protest over the removal of the Lee statue.

Protesters stormed Lee Park, that was recently renamed Emancipation Park, back in May to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.

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