Both the Ku Klux Klan and Black Panther Party held rallies outside the South Carolina Statehouse on Saturday in reaction to the state’s decision to remove the Confederate battle flag from Capitol grounds.
Tensions soared as both groups, historically foes with completely opposite viewpoints, held consecutive rallies in front of the South Carolina Capitol. Though the event remained largely peaceful with state police positioning themselves between both groups, five were arrested and seven transported by ambulance for medical treatment.
More than 90 rallies have been held nation-wide supporting public displays of Confederate flags in the weeks since nine were killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston – many organized by the Ku Klux Klan. Klan members hold that the Confederate flag is not a symbol of racism, but of Southern pride and history, and have been consistently met with counter-demonstrations by the Black Panthers and others.