‘We will not tolerate racism’

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USA Today NetworkPaul Hyde, The Greenville (S.C.) News Published 4:29 p.m. ET Aug. 13, 2017 | Updated 8:25 p.m. ET Aug. 13, 2017

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — Chanting “love trumps hate” and “we will not tolerate racism,” more than 250 people rallied in downtown Greenville against white supremacy on Sunday afternoon.

The rally, held in response to Saturday’s violent clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., was one of more than a hundred taking place nationwide Sunday, according to a database assembled by The Indivisible Project, an advocacy group.

Among the protests:

  • In Los Angeles, hundreds rallied on the steps of City Hall, then marched through downtown chanting, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” among other slogans.
  • In Chicago, about 400 people gathered at Millennium Park and marched to the city’s Trump Tower carrying signs criticizing the Trump administration.
  • In Washington, D.C., hundreds marched past the White House and Trump International Hotel, a few blocks away, shouting, “Shame!” as they passed.

In New York, hundreds protested in Union Square late Saturday, organized by the group Black Lives Matter NYC. Protesters returned to Union Square on Sunday, marching to Trump Tower. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking elsewhere on Sunday, criticized President Trump’s reaction to Saturday’s violence, saying, “This is a president who clearly speaks in blunt terms on many, many topics, but unfortunately, we’ve seen him hold back when it comes to right wing terror,” NBC News reported. 

In Greenville, Todd May, a Clemson University philosophy professor and one of the organizers of the rally, said, “What we’re trying to do here today is stand in solidarity with African Americans, with Jews, with the LGBT community, with people who are the object of white supremacy and white racism.” 

More: ‘Unite the Right’ leader blames Charlottesville officials for violence

More: Charlottesville suspect’s beliefs were ‘along the party lines of the neo-Nazi movement,’ ex-teacher says

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“We want to let them know that Greenville does not condone white supremacy and racism, that we oppose it, and that those who are the subject of this oppression are not alone.”

The public outcry over Saturday’s white supremacist rally that left three dead and 35 injured in Charlottesville was also being felt more than 500 miles away in Louisville. 

In two separate events, members of Louisville Metro Council and the local Black Lives Matter were taking to the streets Sunday to pray and rally in the wake of the violence in Virginia.

 

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“We are heartbroken by the violence that led to the loss of life as good and decent people stood up against racism, white supremacy and hatred,” a statement from Black Lives Matter Louisville said. “Our rally is answering a national call to stand in solidarity with all those who stood up against white supremacy over the weekend in Charlottesville…”

In Denver, hundreds marched to the Colorado state capitol protesting the Charlottesville violence.

In Seattle, dueling protests downtown resulted in clashes between protesters and police.

The first protest, Solidarity Against Hate, started with a rally at Denny Park in the South Lake Union area at 1 p.m. PT. From there, thousands of protesters marched through downtown to Westlake Park.  According to the group’s Facebook page, they were counterprotesting an event called the Freedom Rally.

The Freedom Rally, hosted by a group called Patriot Prayer, a conservative, Pro-President Trump group, started at 2 p.m. at Westlake Park in downtown. 

Several police officers lined the protest march route. While the march on the whole was peaceful, a few skirmishes broke out with a few protesters and officers. 

Back in South Carolina, several Greenville activists said the Charlottesville clashes are just the latest in many troubles plaguing the nation.

“I’m here because I’m heartbroken about this country,” said Greenville resident Ali van den Broek. “I’ve always lived in a society of justice and equality and opportunity and hope in the future and I don’t see any of that right now. The rhetoric has become terrible, the violence has become terrible. The divisiveness has become intolerable. I despair of my grandsons going out in public.”

Shortly after the rally ended and before the crowd dispersed, several Confederate flag supporters, flying the banner on their cars and trucks, drove by the Peace Center, honking their horns and shouting. Activists responded by chanting “love trumps hate.”

In Charlottesville, Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 other people were injured when a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters.

Two state police officers also died when their helicopter crashed near town while they were trying to assist in the city Thomas Jefferson called home.

Sunday’s rally in Greenville was announced late Saturday on Facebook. By Sunday morning, almost 200 Upstate residents had pledged to attend while another 500 had expressed interest in going to the rally.

Greenville has seen an almost unprecedented spate of public protests in the wake of the November election of President Trump. Protests against Trump’s travel ban have been held in downtown Greenville and at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

The quickly assembled local gatherings have underscored the power of social media to connect activists and drive public protests.

Contributing: Thomas Novelly, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, and KING-TV, Seattle. Follow Paul Hyde on Twitter: @PaulHyde7

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