The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan plan to rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this on Saturday to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park.
The city approved the rally in Justice Park on free speech grounds. But Mayor Michael Signer encouraged most people to stay away.
“This rump, out-of-state chapter of a totally discredited organization will succeed in their aim of inciting controversy only if folks take their putrid bait, and that begins with the media,” he told The Washington Post in an email. “I encourage everyone to ignore this ridiculous sideshow and to focus instead on celebrating the values of diversity and tolerance that have made Charlottesville a world-class city.”
White supremacists including Richard Spencer rallied in the college town, home of the University of Virginia, for the same reason on May 13. That event precipitated anti-Semitic, online harassment against Signer.
Another rally is scheduled for August 12. Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke referenced the August event in a Wednesday Twitter message, encouraging his followers to “Be there -> the fake news will be.”
Some liberal activist groups plan to hold a “BlocKKKparty” protest around the Klan rally, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported, while churches and other organizations have scheduled a series of educational and social events around the city throughout the day.