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12 People Charged at KKK Rally Go Before Charlottesville Judge

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People gathered outside Charlottesville General District Court People gathered outside Charlottesville General District Court
People gathered outside Charlottesville General District Court People gathered outside Charlottesville General District Court
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A dozen people charged in connection to a KKK rally went before a judge in Charlottesville General District Court Monday morning.

Twelve people made their first appearance in court: Jo Zenobia Donahue, Veronica H. Fitzhugh, Nicolas R. McCarthy, Jeanne M. Peterson, John R. Neavear, Sara M. Tansey, Evan S. Viglietta, and Whitney R. Whiting are all charged with one count of obstructing free passage. Katherine M. Niles, Erika J. Riles, and Kandace N. Baker are charged with obstructing justice. Tracy G. Redd had appeared in court on Friday, July 14.

The twelfth person in court Monday is a minor, who will not be identified at this time.

The charges stem from a rally by supporters and members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Justice Park Saturday, July 8.

The event drew over 1,000 people to the park, including many protesters and law enforcement officers.

Many of those charged are from when a group of people formed a human chain to try and prevent the Klan from entering the park.

Police arrested 22 people that day, mostly on misdemeanor charges. A total of four people are facing felony charges: Sarah E. Barner, Naomi Michelle Bendersky, and Diego Trujillo are each charged with wearing a mask in public. Jordan Lee Romeo is charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Most of those arrested in the protest have been appointed a public defender.

Those who are facing a misdemeanor charge have their next date in Charlottesville General District Court scheduled for August 31.

Solidarity Cville has created a crowdfunding page to raise money for legal fees.

Release from the United National Antiwar Coalition:

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) declares its solidarity with the more than 2,500 anti-racists who turned out July 8 in Charlottesville, Virginia, to oppose a rally by the white-supremacist Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

We call for the immediate dropping of all charges against the 22 people arrested on July 8.

We also call for the Charlottesville city government to reverse its decision to grant a permit for a national rally of so-called “alt-right” white supremacists in the city’s Emancipation Park (formerly Lee Park) on Aug. 12. That “Unite the Right” rally is also to support Charlottesville’s Confederate statues.

Further, we call on all our affiliates and allies to be in Charlottesville on Aug. 12 to support the local community in their opposition to racism, racist groups and symbols of the slavery-defending Confederacy.

The KKK rallied to oppose the city’s long overdue decision to take down its statues of slavery-defending Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. While the out-of-state racists were only able to mobilize a few dozen members, it was critical that local folks showed the world that the Klan can no longer inspire fear or intimidate opponents.

More serious was the fact that the City of Charlottesville chose to grant a permit for the Klan rally in the first place, and then went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the racists could proceed in the face of mass opposition.

This is not a question of “free speech.” Klan rallies are held to recruit new members into a violent, racist organization intent on inflicting physical harm on Blacks, Jews, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, leftists and any other target it declares to be “un-American.” On July 8, the Klan prominently displayed a banner calling on people to join their organization. Recruitment into violent hate groups is not a right that has to be respected by anyone.

But in order to make sure these racist thugs could hold their rally, Charlottesville’s city government deployed a massive police presence, complete with city and state officers in full body armor, automatic weapons, a personnel carrier, a helicopter and more.

The Klan had a permit for a one-hour rally. When they arrived 45 minutes late, the police provided them with an armed escort into Justice Park (until recently Jackson Park), allowed them to overstay their permit for a half-hour and then escorted them back to their vehicles.

When protesters expressed their anger at this police-Klan collaboration, the police responded with tear gas and brutal arrests.

UNAC applauds Charlottesville for deciding to remove its Confederate statues, which are nothing more than aggressive symbols of white supremacy. USA Today recently reported that there are 700 to 1,000 such Confederate monuments in 31 states - far more states than the 11 that made up the Confederacy.

This is not just a Southern problem, and all these racist symbols must come down.

Contributions to a bail and legal fees fund for the anti-KKK protesters arrested July 8 can be made at: https://fundly.com/solidarity-c-ville-7-8-anti-racist-legal-fund