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The Rock Stone Mountain white power rally – which was scheduled for Feb. 2 – has been canceled by its organizers.
According to a press release sent out this afternoon by rally spokesman Mike Weaver, on the advice of “legal consultants that have been advising us on the execution of our demonstration, we have decided that it is best to reschedule the event at a later date.”
The reasoning, he wrote, is twofold. First, their inability to obtain a permit will increase the liability of anyone attending the event, and there isn’t enough time to challenge the rejection legally. “Given the rejection of our permit vs. the time approaching for the event date, we did not have enough of a window to start the process of a court case,” Weaver wrote.
Second, the Super Bowl will be monopolizing law enforcement’s attention, and the fear of violence from counter-protesters without police protection troubled the group. “The lack of a police force on the scene would force us into the position of having to take our own security measures,” Weaver wrote. “This will take away focus and purpose of what we are trying to do and put attention on our opposition.”
Weaver went on to cite the response from the Frontline Organization Working to End Racism, or FLOWER, in his reasoning for canceling the event – specifically the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article in which author Chris Joyner interviewed FLOWER representative Sean Wolters. The article states:
“When asked if the group planned to brawl with the Rock Stone Mountain group, Wolters noted groups like the Klan only gather when they have police protection. Absent that, he wouldn’t rule out violence.”
Weaver goes on to explain Wolters was quoted in the article saying, “Anyone who is going to go out and wave KKK paraphernalia in the South and at Stone Mountain, they are going to be challenged.”
Weaver feels the rally, at this point, is not worth the perceived and implied risks. “Simply put, with the lack of a police presence, permit and the threat of violence from groups such as Anti Fa [sic], we do not want to put anyone attending this rally in a position where too much is at risk, he wrote. “This includes being subject to their doxing and harassment of people and their employers.”
UPDATE: FLOWER has responded to the cancellation. “[This is] a complete vindication of the broader antiracist strategy of relentless opposition to white supremacy,” a FLOWER representative wrote to Atlanta Loop. “This anti-racist opposition involves multiple levels, including cultural, legal, financial and physical.”
The group says the victory is a positive step, but feels as long as the carvings of confederate leadership on Stone Mountain remain, the site will inspire other groups of white supremacists to rally, as they have done for decades. The group is calling for the removal of the sculpture to send a clear message that the south’s racist past should not be romanticized.
Although the rally is canceled, FLOWER is still planning to organize on Feb. 2. “We will still mobilize at the announced time and place of 9 a.m. on E. Mountain Street and Main, but in a spirit of celebration,” the representative wrote. “We encourage the whole community to show up and celebrate this victory.”