After several hours of peaceful demonstrations on Saturday in Atlanta suburb, police intervened in large numbers to disperse the crowds when a fight broke out between right-wing demonstrators and counter-protestors.
Several demonstrators were armed and carrying Confederate battle flags conducted a rally in Stone Mountain next to a park known for its nine-story-high rock relief carving of the breakaway slave-holding states’ leaders. This mix of militia members, confederate followers, and President Donald Trump supporters was faced off against a few hundred counterprotesters who wore shirts or carried signs expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Some members of both groups carried rifles.
Soon after hours of shouting and burning of Confederate flag, people began to steal flags and hats from one another, which led the right-wing protestors to attack with pepper spray, and then fists were thrown.
Georgia Police intervened
Minutes before 1 p.m., fights broke out, and people started punching and throwing rocks. Police backed by the SWAT team in armored vehicles moved in threatening to arrest anyone who remained. Almost all of the protestors left the area by two p.m.No arrests were reported by police by late afternoon.
The Confederate States lll%, an Arkansas group led the right-wing groups. They applied for a permit to hold a rally in Stone Mountain Park where the giant sculpture of Confederate leaders situates. The rally was planned as a response to a march conducted by a Black militia group in the park on July 4. The request by the right-wing groups was denied by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association on August 4, citing the violent clash that happened in April 2016.
Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Park authorities have faced renewed calls for the removal of the sculpture. The sculpture has the carving depicting General Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and General Thomas J. Jackson. The death of Floyd revived clash between groups seeking to abolish Confederate monuments, which they consider as pro-slavery symbols and those of those who consider the sculpture honoring the traditions and history of the south.