- Dozens of protesters were recorded on video marching on Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park on Saturday, demanding that a giant rock relief depicting Confederate leaders be taken down.
- Park authorities estimated there were about 100 to 200 protesters. Many were Black, and most were heavily armed.
- The protest was peaceful, however, and park authorities said they had no issue with it.
- Stone Mountain Park has long been a popular gathering place for white supremacists, including the Ku Klux Klan.
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As many as 200 mainly Black, heavily armed protesters marched on Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park on the Fourth of July holiday to demand that a giant Confederate carving be removed.
The nine-story rock relief, known as the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, depicts Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson mounted on horseback.
The carving was commissioned by segregationist officials in Georgia in 1958 and completed in 1972, according to Reuters. It is the largest Confederate monument in the world.
Stone Mountain is a historic gathering spot for white supremacists, including the Ku Klux Klan, according to the Associated Press.
An estimated 100 to 200 protesters descended on the park on Saturday to protest the carving, the AP reported, citing a Stone Mountain Memorial Association spokesman, John Bankhead.
Bankhead added that the protesters, many of whom carried rifles, were peaceful. He also told the local news channel 11Alive he had no issue with the demonstrators exercising their free speech.
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Videos uploaded to Twitter on Saturday showed dozens of mostly Black protesters carrying weapons and walking toward the park.
Many were wearing what appeared to be bulletproof vests, and most were wearing protective face masks. One man could be heard saying “Black power,” while another says: “Black love, Black love.”
In Stone Mountain, Georgia earlier today pic.twitter.com/F2Autd4YtI
— Naomi (@naomiruta) July 4, 2020
The largest armed Black crowd I’ve ever seen in my life just crossed the front of my house in Stone Mountain. Bigger than any Black Panther engagement I’ve ever encountered #July4th2020 pic.twitter.com/4iH5qx77Ee
— Jollof Rice Brand Ambassador (@_King_Akin) July 4, 2020
Video from 11Alive also showed the protesters chanting at the park: “I solemnly swear to protect the Black nation.”
Many people across the US had used the Fourth of July holiday to protest.
On Friday, a group of mostly Native American protesters blocked the road leading to Mount Rushmore in the hours leading up to President Donald Trump’s speech at the monument.
The Supreme Court had ruled in 1980 that the land where the Mount Rushmore carvings were created was illegally taken by the US from the Sioux tribe in 1873.
When the demonstrators refused to disband, the South Dakota National Guard shot close-range shells and unleashed pepper spray on some of them. Fifteen people were arrested.
On early Saturday morning, a driver drove a car through a group of protesters in Seattle. Two women were rushed to the hospital with injuries; one has since died, and the other remains in critical condition.
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