One picture of a little girl holding up a sign proclaiming "love > hate" during a Saturday "pro-white" rally at one of Georgia's largest Confederate monuments offered the Internet a different perspective amidst the tension surrounding the controversial rally and the counter-protests.
The photo, which was tweeted by WSB-TV reporter Audrey Washington, includes the following caption: "Then this beautiful girl, suddenly made the day, so much better!"
Washington also captured this image depicting "That moment, when 'White Power' rally participants and some protestors, stopped to talk."
These moments proved to be welcome reminders amidst a tense rally at the "pro-white" rally that took place at the Confederate landmark in Stone Mountain Park in Georgia on Saturday. Violence erupted as hundreds of counter-protesters set a barricade on fire and threw rocks and fireworks at police who responded to the scene, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Nine of the counter-protesters were arrested, and park officials shut down some attractions for safety reasons.
Some of the dozens of "pro-white" protesters who attended the rally were waving Confederate flags and wearing "White Lives Matter" stickers as counter-protesters and "Black Lives Matter" activists clashed with them, according to the Guardian.
The event, which was held two days before Confederate Memorial Day and focused on the three statues of Confederate leaders contained in the park, had been planned for months and was expected to draw as many as 2,000 attendees. But because some Ku Klux Klan members allegedly aided in the event's planning at one point, the counter-protesters began planning their response, as well.
John Estes, one of the rally's organizes, said that the protest was meant to convey that the desecration of important Confederate symbols and heritage would not be tolerated.
"There is no separation between heritage and race," Estes said, according to the Guardian. "If you destroy the roots of a people, that tree is easily pushed over and conquered. That’s what happens: to erase history, they erase heritage first, then they erase and liquidate the people. That’s what going on here."
Estes also added that "This is a racial issue. They [media, politicians, other countries] hate white people. Point blank," according to CNN.
The protest was also spurred on by recent efforts to remove the Confederate flag from the top of the park's mountain, CNN reported. This flag, which has sparked controversy most noticeably in South Carolina's removal of the Confederate symbol from its statehouse grounds last July, has been condemned by "Black Lives Matter" activists and NAACP members for its "racist" historical significance.
Richard Rose, the president of the Atlanta NAACP chapter, had told CNN last July that Stone Mountain Park's carvings of Confederate leaders should not be allowed on public property.
"That carving is a great piece of art, but it was commissioned out of hate and white supremacy," Rose had said. "The state should not be supporting or condoning white supremacy with my tax dollars."
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