Here's a sentence you won't read every day: Neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan were upstaged during a Charlotte, North Carolina rally Saturday by a crowd of defiant clowns determined to drown out the white supremacist message.
WCNC says the counter-protesters outnumbered the white supremacists by a ratio of about 5 to 1, and that instead of shouting or chanting, they employed devices like squeaky toys and whistles to distract from the white supremacist rally. Somewhat surprisingly, none of the clowns were assaulted, and no arrests were made.
WCNC has more:
When the speakers talked about “White Power,” the protesters sprinkled white flour. Another held a sign reading “Wife Power.”
They said they wanted to make a point that racism is ridiculous.
“The message from us is, you look silly,” said Lacey Williams, the youth coordinator for Charlotte’s Latin American Coalition. “We're dressed like clowns and you're the ones that look funny.”
Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group based in Detroit, said his organization wants to be an alternative third party to the country’s two-party system. Its platform is based on white supremacy.
Protestor Tom Strini donned his red nose and rainbow wig to take an opposing point of view.
“Instead of meeting hate with hate, they were going to meet hate with love,” said Strini of the protestors.
“I think it’s really important to have a sense of humor,” added Williams. “What they want is for us to fight them. They want us to hit them with hate. We can't become them.” [Emphasis added]
Here are some photos of the merry "clowns":
The white supremacists looked far from amused:
Even a city council member showed up on the side of the clowns, donning a red nose in support.
“We're just a great big happy melting pot,” said councilman John Autry commented. “I just wanted to come out here and make sure people understood that I did not support the views of the people behind up here with the microphones.”
The event lasted roughly two hours, according to reports, at which point the supremacists gave up and left. A number of the 75 policemen in attendance escorted the group back to a parking garage and though clowns filled the lot, it remained peaceful.
WCNC has video of the unusual occurrence: