A coalition of approximately 600 people including antifascists, communists and other activists – many of them armed – showed up to confront a small group of Ku Klux Klan members who assembled in Dayton, Ohio.
In total, only nine Klansmen attended. The group had two banners, one reading “Honorable Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan” and the other reading “Diversity = Genocide.” One held a sign reading “It’s ok to be white” with the “ok” hand sign.
They also waved KKK, American, and confederate flags.
The group was permitted to be masked and carry handguns under the consent decree they reached with the city of Dayton.
The group assembled at Courthouse Square, and had a barricade, 60 meters of empty space, two police lines, and two fences between them and the coalition of counter-demonstrators.
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein told the Dayton Daily News that the KKK rally cost the city about $650,000 in personnel and materials.
Over 650 police officers were present.
In spite of the police presence, many activists from several groups came armed themselves, open carrying rifles and handguns. Many activists expressed skepticism that the police were there to protect the community, as opposed to the Klansmen themselves
“Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” the activists chanted. “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand!”
Black power! Black power!” chanted the Dayton chapter of the New Black Panther Party, which came heavily armed.
They say they see police as favoring the Klan side, so they believe in constitutionally defending themselves.
Some carried instruments to rally the counter-demonstrators or mock the Klansmen.
One tuba player played “Ride Of The Valkyries” in a slow and mocking tempo as the KKK members left around 3pm.
“Fuck the KKK! Fuck the KKK!” some chanted as they departed.
No violence occurred, and no arrests were officially made, although one individual was reportedly arrested and let go without charge for J-walking.
The event has been estimated to cost taxpayers $650,000.