Chris Joyner and Ernie Suggs, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 23, 2016
Protests surrounding a rally at Stone Mountain erupted in violence Saturday as demonstrators trying to confront a white power group set a barricade on fire and hurled rocks and fireworks at police attempting to block them.
By midday, park officials worried about the safety of visitors, shut down attractions such as the cable car and amusement center and also cancelled the popular laser show. The park remained open.
Nine counter-protesters were arrested, most for refusing to take their masks off, authorities said.
In Rome, Ga., about 80 supporters of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement also held a rally Saturday. That event has largely avoided the violence seen at Stone Mountain, although police said two counter-protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. There were several hundred counter-protesters on hand.
Only about two dozen white power demonstrators showed up at the “Rock Stone Mountain” rally and, by early afternoon, they were packing up to leave after one man arrived with a large red flag advertising the Ku Klux Klan. Organizers had said they didn’t want such symbols at the event.
But despite the low turnout–they had predicted up to 2,000 attendees–and the wave of counter-protests that left them isolated inside a barricade, organizers declared the event a success.
The white power group was vastly outnumbered by hundreds of counter-protesters, who clashed repeatedly with police as they tried to reach the site of their rally.
At least one man was seen spraying a Georgia State Patrol officer with pepper spray. Others engaged in physical skirmishes with law enforcement dressed in riot gear, said John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Stone Mountain Park Police. Some police officers sustained minor injuries, he said.
Eight of those arrested were charged with failure to remove their masks. Another person was charged with aggravated assault after throwing a smoke bomb at an officer.
Weaving through the trails, the counter protesters reached a perch where they were within site of the Confederate flags. When police prevented them from entering, the exchange turned violent. Counter-protesters emptied trash cans and threw rocks toward the barricades. Fireworks exploded.
Police in riot gear grew tense and encircled the white supremacists to keep the groups apart.
[Editor’s note: This was what has now become routine: A small group of whites held a peaceful, public demonstration in support of their race and heritage, and were met by several hundred violent “anti-racists.” It is ironic that the left calls any white who honors his heritage a “hater,” yet it is the “anti-racists” who clearly hate what racially conscious whites stand for.
Equally ironic was the reason why counter-protesters were arrested: one was charged with aggravated assault and eight were arrested for refusing to remove masks. Masked violence is the usual complaint against the Ku Klux Klan. Mug shots of the arrested counter-protesters were posted online here. Each picture is worth 1,000 words.]