Rival rallies held in US over Confederate flag

Washington, July 19 (IANS) Two rival rallies were held in South Carolina state of the US by African-Americans and members of the white supremacist group Klu Klux Klan (KKK) to support and oppose, respectively, the recent removal of the Confederate flag.

Members of the Black Educators for Justice from Florida on Saturday held a rally on the north side of the Statehouse to support the removal of the Confederate flag that is regarded as a symbol of the dark history of black slavery in southern US states, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

The KKK rally, organised by the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, was held on Saturday afternoon on the south side of the Statehouse. About 200 people attended the KKK rally, some of them waving the Confederate flag.

A heavy police contingent was present at the venue to prevent possible clashes between the two rival groups, and the KKK rally was barricaded as more protesters joined the crowd.

James Evans Muhammad, leader of the Black Educators for Justice, urged protesters not to get violent or they would be removed by police.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley issued a statement on Thursday to call on people to stay away from the KKK rally.

“We want to make the Statehouse a lonely place for them (KKK members). In doing so, We’ll honour those we have lost and continue to make our state stronger,” Haley said.

The racial relationship between the state’s black and white residents has become increasingly tense after a racially-motivated white gunman shot and killed nine black churchgoers on June 17 in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Confederate flag was removed on July 10 from the Statehouse of South Carolina.

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