Protestors clash with attendees of Confederate Memorial Day celebrations in Alabama.
Confederate flags waved from the Montgomery Capitol Steps as about a hundred people gathered beside the Confederate Memorial in honor of Confederate Memorial Day.
Organized by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that has tried to distance itself from the extremists who fill the ranks of the Neo-Confederate movement, Wednesday’s event revealed deep tensions simmering below the surface. But with the arrival of a small group of protesters carrying the Pan-African flag, sporting berets and Huey P. Newton Gun Club shirts, and shouting black power slogans, the scene quickly took a turn.
“Get a job!” The Confederate descendants shouted as they chased the protesters down the mall. One of the protesters, carrying a rifle, was in the process of loading his compatriots into their van to leave when police arrived on the scene, immediately approaching the man and starting a tussle over the firearm that lasted several minutes.
“Drop your weapon!” The officer yelled repeatedly as the protester refused, insisting it was his right to open carry.
“Y’all the ones who made the law an open carry state!” One woman yelled in support of the protester. “Do black people not have the constitutional right to bear arms?”
Dressed in assorted Confederate regalia, the crowd leered over the protestors, cheering on police with shouts of “Arrest them!”
“Oh yeah, that shows what the blacks really are like,” one man shouted from the hill above. “Gotta bring a shotgun to a meeting!”
“All power to the people!” A protestor shouted in response.
“Oh, bless your little black behind,” the man shot back.
“Thank you baby, you can kiss it too!”
According to a WSFA 12 News article, two were arrested at the event –– Mercutio Terrell Southall, the armed protestor, and John Patrick Redmond, a Confederate supporter. Both were charged with possessing a firearm while attending a demonstration at a public place.
The protesters were not the only target of attack at the rally, though. In the opening words of his speech, Von McQueen of Selma railed against LGBT people, referring to same-sex relationships as a “vile affection”.
“God gave them up to vile affections. For even their women changed to the unnatural and to that which is against nature. Likewise also men leaving the natural use of women, burned with lust for one another. Men with men, working that which is unseemly.”
For a group that claims that they do not support hate and merely want respect for their dead, bigotry was certainly on prominent display yesterday.