21:55 GMT24 November 2020
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    The North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights chapter of the Ku Klux Klan has been granted approval to hold a rally at the South Carolina State House, a major flashpoint in the current debate over displays of the Confederate flag in the US, on July 18.

    On Monday, dozens of protesters calling for the end to flying the Confederate flag on government buildings gathered at the State House, and were met by vehicles circling the building, flying the controversial banner.

    Among those counter-demonstrators was Nicholas Thompson, 25, of Irmo, South Carolina, who was charged with disorderly conduct after harassing the anti-Confederate flag protestors. 

    The flag has become the subject of heated debate, after Dylann Roof, 21, who massacred nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, was seen posing with the flag in photos. The one flying above the State House was not lowered, as was the US flag out of respect for the victims.

    The “Great Titan” of the Loyal White Knights, James Spears, claims that the new rally is being planned because the group is “standing up for the Confederacy.”  The outgoing voicemail greeting for the group states that the government is "trying to erase white culture and heritage from the history books."

    "If you're white and proud, join the crowd," the message continues. "Save our land, join the Klan."

    Scheduled speakers will be addressing topics such as slavery, and the rally will be followed by a cross-lighting ceremony on private property.

    South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds, and Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe announced his state will begin to phase out vehicle license plates featuring the offending flag.

    Opting not to wait for the government to remove what is widely recognized as a symbol of segregation and racism, activist Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole outside the State House and removed the flag herself over the weekend, for which she was promptly arrested and released on bail.  

    The flag was put back up less than an hour later, in time for a sparsely attended pro-Confederate rally.

    “What better reason to risk your own freedom than to fight for the freedom of others?” Newsome wrote of her courageous act in a statement to Blue Nation Review.

    Robert Jones, a "grand dragon" of the KKK chapter, referred to Dylan Roof as a “warrior,” according to the Post and Courier, and Spears told Politico that he “feels sorry for the boy,” lamenting that the only problem with the massacre that left nine dead at a bible study is the fact that he “picked the wrong target.”

    "I think he picked the wrong target," Spears said. "A better target for him would have been these gang-bangers, running around rapping, raping and stealing."

    "This is our state, and they are not welcome," South Carolina Governor Haley wrote of the KKK in a statement.

    Yet the rally will go on, as it is policy to open the grounds for any group to demonstrate as long as the space has not been already reserved.


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