A North Carolina Ku Klux Klan group’s plans for a parade celebrating Donald Trump’s presidency came to fruition Saturday, Dec. 3, leading to protests and police disapproval. Authorities said they were unable to prevent such an event from happening, but hundreds of residents took to the streets to show their opposition.
Originally planned for Pelham, North Carolina, where The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is based, the event happened in Roxboro instead. At a press conference Monday, Dec. 5, Police Chief David Hess said authorities only received notice of the parade an hour before it would come through the city. According to WNCN, 20 vehicles, many waving Confederate flags, drove through Roxboro in about five minutes to little fanfare.
IT'S HAPPENING. KKK just came through Roxboro. Battle flags & shouting "WHITE POWER!" pic.twitter.com/rcjHbmUUiR
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) December 3, 2016
Hess informed the station that he and the city “do not condone the beliefs of the KKK.” In a statement on Twitter, he said police ensured the public’s safety by blocking several intersections to allow the KKK to move through swiftly.
“This event was not something the Roxboro Police desired in our city, and could not legally prevent,” he added before calling for “love and peace” in the community.
— David Hess (@ChiefDavidHess) December 3, 2016
Even though officials were legally unable to stop the event, demonstrations against it abounded. More than 100 citizens protested at Pelham United Methodist Church, The News and Observer reported. Other cities, including Salisbury, Durham, Charlotte and Mebane, also showed opposition to the KKK parade. Among the hundreds of people who met at an N.C. Justice and Unity Rally in Raleigh was novice protester Renwick Chandler, a Black man from Durham. He held a sign that read, “My white girlfriend thinks Black men matter.”
“It was the election itself,” Chandler said, of why he attended the protest. “But then the KKK came out and said that they were going to have a parade to celebrate. [Trump] has been feeding off of their energy and inspiring people to just come out and hate.”
Bryan Proffitt of the Durham Association of Educators spoke at the event and urged attendees to pledge to force white supremacy “back into the shadows.”
“We have to have political power,” he said. “When they do things that are going to destroy us, we have to be able to act and we have to be able to make something happen.”