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Stone Mountain flag rallies attract extremist views

Stone Mountain is one of a handful of locales across the nation where the battle over “heritage” issues has been fought since this summer’s mass shooting in a church in Charleston reignited the debate over display of the Confederate battle flag.

But rallies at the mountain — much of which is a privately operated amusement park — have drifted farther to the political fringe.

A large Aug. 1 rally held in a tucked-away parking lot at the park featured a range of actors interested in preserving the flag as a symbol of endangered Southern heritage. There were members of the Sons of Confederate veterans, history buffs and self-described rednecks for whom the flag represents their family history or a preferred way of life. There also were members of radical groups like the League of the South, which preaches secession and a white-dominated Southern nation, and heavily armed militia groups.

Pro-Confederate flag supporters pose before they head up the mountain on the walk up trail during a protest at Stone Mountain, Saturday, November 14, 2015, after a proposal was made to place a monument on top of it dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. At noon about 50 protesters and no counter-protesters had arrived. KENT D. JOHNSON/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

Pro-Confederate flag supporters offer what the Anti-Defamation League says is a KKK salute during a protest at Stone Mountain, Saturday, November 14, 2015. Organizers of the protest later acknowledged their Klan membership. KENT D. JOHNSON/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

A rally last month, promoted as a “heritage” event actually was organized by members of the Ku Klux Klan and featured fewer genealogists or hobbyists. It also as a tenth the size of the Aug. 1 rally.

Now an “openly white power” rally is planned for April. Its organizers adhere to a motto coined by an American neo-Nazi that suggests white people are in a fight for their survival against people of other races.

Now that rally has attracted an established activist in the white power movement as its promoter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Groups that track the white supremacist movement say white power activists see the debate over the display of Confederate symbols as a recruiting opportunity. But heritage groups say this element within their ranks is small and does not represent their goals.

Read more about these developments on myajc.com here. 


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