Angry Protests as Civil Rights Leaders Clash with Confederate Flag Supporters
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Civil rights activists clashed with hundreds of flag-waving supporters of the Confederacy at a rally in Georgia.
Police had to step in to hold back protesters who started yelling obscenities at a large group of 'heritage not hate' marchers at Stone Mountain Park in central Georgia on Saturday.
The clash came against the backdrop of the world's largest pro-Confederate memorial - an enormous sculpture of rebel leaders carved into the mountain, measuring a total of three acres, Daily Mail reported.
Clashes: Civil rights protesters are pictured in close quarters with attendees at a Confederate flag rally in Stone Mountain, Georgia, on Saturday. Police are pictured trying to keep the peace
Tense: A protester is pictured partway through burning a Confederate flag in front of the gathered protesters. The flag has become a hotly-contested symbol in the wake of the racist massacre in South Carolina
Struggle: Critics, including Barack Obama, say the Confederate battle flag symbolizes racism and oppression - while its supporters claim it is a benign part of their heritage
The meeting of the rival groups came in the middle of the day-long rally, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It reported that officers had to step in to separate a small group of protesters from the much large group of people who supported the flag, who said they had come from Georgia and surrounding Southern states.
The group was sporting dozens of large Confederate flags, as well as t-shirts, bandannas and other clothing branded with the symbol.
Several gun-wielding men in camouflage gear were also present, saying they wanted to maintain security.
Out in force: Supporters brought dozens of Confederate flags to the day-long event, many attached to their cars and pickup trucks
Proud: Supporters are pictured waving their flag at the event, which was disrupted by verbal arguments between the two camps
Other reports claimed that some of the pro-flag groups also started verbal confrontations with their opponents, whom park staff tried to keep separate from the main rally.
The rally comes after moves across the United States to remove the Confederate battle flag from government property, including state capitols across the South and Confederate-branded license plates.
The new push follows the racist massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, by a young man who idolized the Confederacy.
Dylann Roof, 21, killed nine churchgoers after a Bible study class in June. An angry screed he published online ahead of the attack praised the Confederate States of America, asserted white superiority over other races and supported the institution of slavery.
Enthusiastic: One pro-Confederate supporters cheers as she waves a particularly large flag
Keeping the peace? Several armed men - some in camouflage - were also at the rally
Claims: Supporters of the flag say they are celebrating their ancestry and are not glorifying slavery
He also published photographs of himself holding the Confederate flag and posing at landmarks associated with the short-lived rebel nation.
Politicians including several Southern governors and President Barack Obama have spoken out against the flag in recent weeks.
Obama described the flag as 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation' and called for its removal.
Numerous rallies have cropped up, mainly in the South, to counter assertions that the flag is a divisive and racist symbol, They have featured parades, motorcades and stationary rallies such as the at Stone Mountain Park.