Fights break out at the capitol as two historic groups rally on race. The KKK and a group affiliated with the Black Panthers raised flags and spoke on the steps of the State House in Columbia.
“The Confederate Flag ain’t meant nothing,” one man argued. “[What] if the Confederate flag had been an American flag that he was holding?” another man replied. “But he didn’t.”
Even before the Black Educators for Justice took to the State House steps emotions ran high.
“You are an embarrassment! This is why they know that we are not a threat. Because of idiots like you,” a man yelled at another man.
The group, tied to the Black Panthers, called for peace when they began.
“Death to White supremacy,” supporters shouted.
They told the crowds below, they wanted to honor the Charleston shooting victims and raise awareness for racial inequalities.
“We are going to highlight them today,” said James Evens Muhammad, Black Educators for Justice Head. “We are going to build them today. We are going to build Emanuel Baptist church because the church was the only place for refuge and safety for black slaves.”
Men with confederate flags showed up early on and were surrounded by upset activists. Police were watching from above and stood in, in an attempt to keep the peace.
“It’s just a shame as far as we have come, to science and everything that people can’t get along.”
Mid afternoon, the Statehouse grew divided. “They both need to go home,” said Chris Pancoafd. “The KKK and the Black panthers, they’re the ones keeping the war on.”
For one hour the KKK began their rally on the confederate flag and white history, as the Black Educators of Justice protested on.
After the BPJ left their rally, the barricaded Klan drew thousands, yelling and watching, as a flag was ripped in half. Bottles and papers were thrown at them from the crowd in response, and racial comments were made.
The KKK left the steps earlier than expected and the chaos grew. Fights broke out and the police moved in. The rallies ended as arrests were made.
“I thought there was going to be a message of, you know, to tell us why they’re supporting your flag and your beliefs but I didn’t get that. It was just to me it was chaotic,” said Sharee King. “So starting from the beginning to end, it was peaceful. But then turned to chaotic in the blink of an eye. ”
State Troopers told WSPA on scene that arrests were made, but could not clarify how many. We were notified that a press release would be sent on the details. Stay with 7 On Your Side for the latest.Copyright 2015 WSPA. All rights reserved.