The Klu Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party held separate protests for and against the Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina statehouse yesterday.
The two sides competed for the “Hate Group of the Year” title and from all reports, it looked to be a draw.
About 2,000 people were at the Statehouse at the peak of the two rallies, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. The department said five people had been arrested after the KKK members showed up for offenses including disorderly conduct, simple assault and breach of peace. Additional officers were on scene at that time.
No officers were injured, but there were 23 calls for emergency services and seven people were transported by medical personnel, according to the Department of Public Safety. The temperatures rose to the high nineties in Columbia Saturday afternoon.
The earlier rally, including members of Black Lawyers for Justice and Black Educators for Justice, a Florida organization with links to the New Black Panther Party, began with about 200 people gathered around a podium and responding to passionate speakers shouting, “Black power!”
The two sides hurled insults and racial epithets at each other for about an hour. And then, a state trooper was snapped assisting an elderly neo-Nazi wearing a shirt with a swastika on it, who was apparently overcome by the heat, up the stairs of the statehouse.
The trooper — Leroy Smith — is black.
What do you suppose those two men were thinking?
This is one protest where no decent soul had a rooting interest.