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Neo-Confederate groups to rally in Pittsboro this weekend

George Randall of the League of the South at a rally in Pittsboro in September (Photo by Daniel Hosterman)

A number of Neo-Confederate groups plan to rally in Pittsboro on Saturday to protest the Chatham County Board of Commissioners’ decision to remove a Confederate monument from in front of the county courthouse.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is warning that a number of potentially dangerous groups will be among those demonstrating.

From the SPLC:

Some of the entities listed below are SPLC-designated hate groups, while others are considered “heritage,” paleo-libertarian or “constitutional” groups. All of these groups openly embrace neo-Confederate principles, opting to glorify the darker parts of American history.

  • League of the South (LOS) is an SPLC-designated hate group that positioned itself as the primary defender of the Confederate battle flag after the June 17, 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Additionally, SPLC’s Hatewatch blog recently linked LOS to what began as a small Facebook campaign designed to keep Confederate monuments in place. The group quickly grew to more than 200 ardent, secretive separatists planning to make the South a separate nation.
  • The Hiwaymen will participate according to an October 13 Facebook rant by one of its most vocal members, Billy Sessions. The Hiwaymen are a reactionary right-wing group that flock to various far-right protests, often focusing on large, well-publicized rallies like the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, 2017 and an August, 2018 far-right rally in Portland, Oregon.
  • The Virginia Flaggers who, after the Chatham County Commissioner’s statue decision, erected a Confederate flag across the street from a middle school named after a North Carolina slave. The Flaggers joined a number of organizations that protested retailers, county and state governments removing Confederate emblems and merchandise after Dylann Roof killed nine African American church members in South Carolina in 2015.
  • ACTBAC North Carolina is a pro-Confederate group the SPLC listed as a hate group in 2016 and 2017. While not currently listed as a hate group, ACTBAC NC has been a fixture at the Pittsboro demonstrations, and along with the Virginia Flaggers, have erected three Confederate banners in the Pittsboro area.

League of the South member Jessica Reavis was arrested at a previous rally in Pittsboro on October 5  and charged with carrying a concealed gun and carrying a concealed weapon.

The anti-racist group Chatham Takes Action has announced a counter-protest mach from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“On Saturday, the community will come together for a march, rally, and community meal, where we will affirm that Pittsboro is No Place For Hate,” the group said in a press release this week. “In partnership with organizers across the region, including those who organized the Hate Free Hillsborough march and rally, we intend to make a show of strength and power in the face of yet another Confederate/white supremacist rally planned for the same day.”

The march will go from Main Street Station on East Street around the Historic County Courthouse and to the Blair Building lot, according to the group.

Armed Ku Klux Klan members demonstrated in Hillsborough in late August, where they were quickly outnumbered by counter-protesters.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced they would arrest KKK members who carried guns at the demonstration but as of this week no arrests have been made.

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