Around 1,000 people showed up to protest a Ku Klux Klan rally at a public park in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday that only drew around 50 white nationalists.
The rally was mostly peaceful, with local and state police maintaining separation between the two groups — which upset some anti-KKK protesters, who chanted “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
However, according to local police, 22 people were arrested in the course of the day — some before the rally for blocking the entrance to the park, and others after the rally for refusing obey police instructions to disperse and let the KKK members drive away. Tear gas was deployed in the latter event.
Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer, who is Jewish, had urged citizens to ignore the rally, which was organized to protest the renaming of city parks and planned removal of Confederate statues. The rally took place in Justice Park, which used to be called Jackson Park — named after rebel general “Stonewall” Jackson.
City officials had approved the KKK event on free speech grounds. The counter-protesters were reportedly effective at drowning out the Klan supporters’ speeches.
KKK member Douglas Barker told the Times-Dispatch that a double-standard was being deployed against white people.
“Israel’s got a wall around their country. Why can’t we have a wall around ours?” he said. “They believe in preserving their own race. Why is it wrong for the white man to preserve their own race?”