Ku Klux Klan clash with black protesters in South Carolina
Hundreds of activists of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan group have staged a demonstration in front of the South Carolina Statehouse to protest the removal of the controversial Confederate flag.
Despite a heavy police presence in the state capital Columbia, violent clashes erupted on Saturday afternoon between members of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party, who were demonstrating in favor of the governor’s decision to take down the slavery-era flag.
The KKK members waved the Confederate battle flag as they marched on the state legislature building, reports said.
They were met with hundreds of black protesters who were celebrating the removal of the Confederate Flag due to its associations with racial hatred.
Confederate flags, a controversial symbol of the Confederate slave states that existed from 1861 to 1865, were stolen and ripped up by New Black Panther demonstrators.
KKK protesters stood on the steps of the Capitol and performed Nazi salutes.
New Black Panther Party members were also marching to demand racial equality, calling on politicians to do more than simply bring down a flag.
Last month, Governor Robert Bentley issued an order to remove four Confederate flags from the state Capitol grounds, following a deadly shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine African-American worshipers.
Across the United States there has been a growing outcry for the flag to be removed since 21-year-old shooter Dylann Roof, who is a white supremacist, appeared in photos holding Confederate flags and burning or desecrating US flags.
The Confederate battle flag was first raised atop the South Carolina State House in 1962, as part of the US Civil War centennial commemoration.
The Confederate States of America was an unrecognized confederation of secessionist states, whose agriculture-based economy largely relied upon the labor of black slaves.
The American forces supporting pro-slavery states carried the flag into battle during the1861-1865 American Civil War.