It was Americans pitted against Americans in Georgia Saturday, with flags, fire, and police in riot gear. About two dozen “white power” demonstrators carrying confederate flags came to Stone Mountain Park Saturday, to hold a “rally” and exercise their free speech rights. It was a low turnout – 2,000 had been expected.
However, they were out-numbered by several hundred counter-protesters who threw rocks, set a barricade on fire, and sprayed pepper spray at police. Nine of the counter-protesters were arrested.
Stone Mountain Park had to completely close for the day, due to the protests and violence. A laser show was also cancelled. The park released the following statement:
Stone Mountain Park is located on state-owned land. The state agency with authority over Stone Mountain Park has issued permits to three groups to assemble for free speech activity on April 23. The state agency established the permit locations at the Yellow Daisy Parking Lot, Confederate Hall Plaza and Lower Lawn. The permit times are from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The groups are exercising their First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. The opinions and views of the groups permitted to assemble are neither endorsed nor condoned by Stone Mountain Park. The attractions are closed for the remainder of the day. The Laser show is canceled this evening. The park will resume normal operations on Sunday, April 24th.
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