COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) – The Ku Klux Klan had planned a rally in support of the Confederate flag for Saturday, July 18th at the South Carolina Statehouse. Even though the flag was removed from Statehouse grounds last week, the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, based in Pelham, NC, still plan to be at the Statehouse as a protest of the removal.
Amanda Lee, KKK Imperial Kommander, told a Columbia news station, “It broke all of our hearts that they made a decision, the government, instead of being for the people and what the people want, they take it upon themselves to make the decision for us.”
The group does have a permit for the protest to be at the Statehouse from 3 until 5 p.m. The state grants permits as long as the requested time and space are available.
Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday, “If they come, I will make it very clear to everyone that I want this place to be a very lonely place on that day. We don’t want to give them any attention. We don’t want to give them any reason to think that they’re being heard. I think that that’s an action that we all need to take in South Carolina, so you’ll hear me vocal about that, just pleading with the people of South Carolina to not even give them the attention that they’re hoping to get.”
A big concern is the possibility of a clash with another group that also has a permit to rally at the Statehouse. Black Educators for Justice, a group based in Jacksonville, Florida and affiliated with the New Black Panther Party, has a permit to rally at the Statehouse from noon until 4, overlapping part of the KKK’s protest. The group’s permit says it’s a rally for “Legal issues—Citizens Rights.”
Sherri Iacobelli, Communications Director for the state Department of Public Safety, which is in charge of security at the Statehouse, says she can’t discuss specific plans or security measures, but says DPS will work with local police to make sure there are enough resources at the Statehouse to ensure public safety.