At Virginia KKK Rally, Counter-Protesters Show Up In Droves

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBSNews) —  An armed Klu Klux Klan chapter held a rally in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday (July 8) afternoon, protesting the city’s decision earlier this year to take down a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park and rename the park.

But hundreds of counter-protesters also showed up Saturday (July 8) afternoon, outnumbering the expected number of KKK participants and holding signs denouncing racism and promoting tolerance.

CBS News spotted a few counter-protesters being taken away by police after crossing a law enforcement barrier at the rally.

A few dozen KKK members showed up, with some wearing robes and hoods. The members had several different flags, including Confederate flags. The KKK, established at the end of the Civil War and now headquartered in North Carolina, preaches white supremacy.

“Stop the cultural genocide of white people!” says a poster advertising Saturday’s rally on the KKK’s website.

A statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia (Photo: CBS News).

“July 8th in Virginia we will make a stand for our southern history,” the website says. “They are trying to erase whites and our great culture right out of the history books. The Civil War was not fought over slavery but over high taxes put on the South by the North. The whites did not make the blacks slaves; their own people captured them and sold them to Jewish merchants and they sold them.”

According to Charlottesville officials, more than 100 police officers came to protect the public Saturday (June 8).

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.