A group of white nationalists including the Ku Klux Klan are ringing in Super Bowl weekend with a pro-white rally planned in metro Atlanta.
The rally is set for Saturday, Feb. 2 despite a permit for it being denied by Georgia officials, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The gathering is a part two of another one held in April 2016 in Stone Mountain called “Rock the Mountain.”
“To hell with their permit. The Constitution is our permit,” a self-described “pro-white rights advocate” Michael Weaver, also known as Michael Carothers, told the newspaper. “We move forward. We aren’t going to be discriminated against because you don’t like our views.”
Weaver is one of the organizers behind “Rock the Mountain II,” which states its aim as to protect the enormous bas-relief Confederate carving on the side of the 825-foot high granite Stone Mountain monadnock against actions that seek to change it or remove it altogether. He and others are the same ones who put together the rally’s prequel nearly three years ago. During that assembly, hundreds of counterprotesters showed up to confront about 24 white supremacists. Some of the opposition also collided with police before officials closed the park. Stone Mountain would have additional significance for white supremacists as the site of the rebirth of the KKK more than 100 years ago.
The leaders who govern the park, Stone Mountain Memorial Association, pointed to the violence at the last event and the organizer’s acknowledgment of a “potential for violence” for the upcoming demonstration for denying the permit.
Weaver told the paper he and organizers who belong to other extremist groups feel the response from SMMA violates their First Amendment rights. He also said he wants to seek legal representation but is unable to obtain any.
“We want to coordinate with law enforcement for this event to be peaceful,” he said. “We want to do this peacefully, legally and civilly.”
However, Weaver was not civil in 2011. That year, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after he pepper-sprayed a black man in Columbus, Georgia. He is banned from the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, which encompasses six counties, as a result of his sentence.
Regardless of the permit denial and lack of legal representation, Weaver called on supporters to show up to Stone Mountain Park anyway through the organizers’ Facebook page.
“If you want to flag the entrances, do that. If you want to rally before the carving, do that. If you want to defend the park from Antifa vandals, do that,” the page read. “This is a public park. Let’s show them it’s still a free country and make the entire park our playground.”
Even still, the group will encounter a new crop of counterprotesters in the form of liberal and socialist groups organizing under the alliance Frontline Organization Working to End Racism, or FLOWER.