Police have arrested nine people after a counter protest to a pro-white rally turned physical.
A group called "Rock Stone Mountain" had scheduled a rally at Stone Mountain Saturday morning meant to "protest efforts to erase the white race." But All Out Atlanta, an anti-racism group, organized a counter protest for the same time and location. Both groups had permits from the park and were sanctioned to protest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Police had made provisions early on to keep the groups in separate sections of the park to ensure the rallies stayed peaceful, but efforts to do so quickly deteriorated only hours into events.
According to John Bankhead, a spokesman with the Stone Mountain Park Police, nine All Out Atlanta protestors were arrested before noon Saturday.
Authorities say the protesters were asked to take off masks in compliance with a park ordinance, but when the protesters refused to comply, they were arrested.
On Sunday, police released the names and charges for those nine people:
Donald Ragin, 25, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
John A. Cubas, 26, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
Joshua D. Hughes, 25, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
John D. Nicholson, 30, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
Joshua Mascharka, 23, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
Benjamin S. Passmore, 32, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
Anthony J. Argento, 23, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
David McCormick, 37, Charged with Wearing Mask, Hood
Joshua T. Taft, 21, Charged with Aggravated Assault
Bankhead said other protesters with All Out Atlanta thew rocks and got physical with law enforcement. Bankhead himself was struck with a rock.
Only 25 to 30 people were present for the Saturday pro-white rally at another site in the park. Authorities continued to keep the two rallies separate, but Bankhead says some of the All Out Atlanta protesters kept trying to get through blocked areas leading to the pro-white rally.
On Saturday afternoon, park authorities said attractions, like the nightly lasershow, would be closed for the remainder of the day, but the main park entrance and walking trail would remain open.
Later Saturday afternoon, Stone Mountain Park posted about the protests, warning visitors that the groups were "exercising their First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution."
Monday, August 21 2017 12:31 AM EDT2017-08-21 04:31:29 GMT
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