Protesters have descended on the city of Stone Mountain, Georgia, to counter the Three Percenters, a far-right group that requested to hold a 2,000-person rally in nearby Stone Mountain Park "to defend and protect our history and second Amendment rights."
The city announced Friday that the park would be closed on Saturday in anticipation of demonstrations there by at least two groups of opposing protesters. The city also advised people to avoid the city's downtown.
"While the city has little information on what to expect during this time, out of the abundance of caution we are asking the General Public to avoid the City of Stone Mountain, specifically the downtown area, on Saturday, August 15th, 2020 beginning at 4:00am until 12:00 midnight," reads a statement from the city.
Stone Mountain Park is home to the largest Confederate monument in the country, honoring General Robert E. Lee, General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. It is also considered the symbolic birthplace of the modern Ku Klux Klan.
The planned closure of the park appeared to have done little to prevent a clash between rival groups, as several videos shared online showed individuals confronting each other. A livestream of the converging groups is up on Periscope.
The FrontLine Organization Working to End Racism, or FLOWER, wrote on Twitter that it would be opposing "a coalition of assorted white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, Neoconfederates and III% militia groups" holding a rally on August 15.
"FLOWER turned away White supremacists in 2019, and until the racist monument carved onto the side of Stone Mountain is finally sandblasted away, we will keep turning them away," FLOWER wrote on its website.
According to reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, confrontations between militias and their counter-protesters "remained largely free of serious violence," as of Saturday afternoon.
Gilly Brewing Co., a black-owned business on Stone Mountain's Main Street, posted video of people marching past its front patio carrying Confederate flags.
CBS News Atlanta affiliate WGCL reported that on Saturday afternoon there was a heavy police presence about a block from the city's Main Street, and several police agencies were assisting the local forces.
The park's department of public safety said Friday evening that "security concerns have been identified and are being addressed by state and local law enforcement authorities," WGCL reported.
According to the station, the park, which has long attracted controversy, most recently saw protests on July 4th.
First published on August 15, 2020 / 2:30 PM
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