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KKK plans South Carolina State House rally

gmelendez@thestate.com

The Ku Klux Klan will hold a rally at the South Carolina State House next month, state officials confirmed Monday.

Any group can request to hold a rally as long as the State House grounds are available, said Brian Gaines, a spokesman for the S.C. Budget and Control Board.

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan requested the rally from 3-5 p.m. on July 18, Gaines said.

Calling itself the “Largest Klan in America,” the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are based in Pelham, N.C., according to its website.

The website’s front page includes a message opposing efforts to ban the Confederate flag, which have taken off in the days since nine African-American churchgoers were shot and killed on June 17 in Charleston in what authorities have called a hate crime.

“If you can’t tell, they are trying to wipe us out of the history books,” the message reads. “Tell this Marxist government they better not dishonor out ancestors graves.”

Efforts to reach Klan officials were unsuccessful Monday.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and other state political and business leaders have called for banishing the flag from the State House grounds where is has flown for more than 50 years. The S.C. Legislature will take up bills on the flag’s removal on July 6.

Haley and other politicians have said they respect that the Civil War icon represents Southern heritage to some people, but they want to the flag removed from the State House because it offends others as symbol of oppression.

The flag controversy has spurred several State House demonstrations already.

An anti-flag rally three days after the killings drew more than 1,000 people. The Sons of Confederate Veterans held a news event Thursday. A North Carolina woman climbed the flag pole and removed the flag temporarily on Saturday. She was arrested.

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