Despite urging from the city’s mayor to ignore the racist group, about 1,000 people showed up to protest a few dozen members of the Ku Klux Klan who gathered in Charlottesville, Va. Saturday.
Klan members had called for a rally to oppose the city’s plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general. About 30 to 50 Klan members were escorted by police to and from the city’s Justice Park.
But counterprotesters surrounded and largely drowned out the small group of Klan members.
Charlottesville’s mayor, Mike Signer, asked residents to avoid the rally and to not “take the bait – to deny the KKK the confrontation and celebrity they desire.” Signer promoted alternative events during the day under the name “Unity Cville.”
But anti-Klan protester Precious Williams told WVTF’s Sandy Hausman that she wanted to come “because I believe that if you just stay silent, nothing gets done.”
The KKK arrived around 3:45 p.m., according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress. Klan members only stayed at the scene for less than half an hour, Hausman reports. When they began to leave, “the crowd tried to stop the Klansmen from driving off” she says.