Hundreds of protesters are expected to flood Stone Mountain Park Saturday and it may be hard to figure out who is protesting what and why. Here’s a quick primer on the “Rock Stone Mountain” white power rally and those protesting it.
Rock Stone Mountain
Organizers have alerted Stone Mountain authorities they expect between 200 and 2,000 participants for this rally, dubbed the first “open white power” rally since reaction to last summer’s mass shooting in a black church in Charleston, S.C., reopened the debate on the Confederate flag.
Such a large range means organizers aren’t sure who is coming and if past demonstrations are any indication the actual turnout will be significantly smaller than advertised.
Among the organizers and supporters are members of various Ku Klux Klans, Aryan Nation sects and other white nationalist organizations. Others are unaffiliated white supremacists whose activism has been confined to social media, until now.
All Out ATL
This left-leaning umbrella group formed specifically to oppose Rock Stone Mountain and has papered progressive enclaves in the metro Atlanta area with fliers seeking people to counter protest. The group has an active online presence as well.
Organizers claim between 300 and 1,000 participants — another big range. The group also has no track record so it’s difficult to predict turnout. However, a lot of student organizations and anti-fascist groups have signed on to the effort, so they may have a sizable group.
Although park officials have sought to keep the counter protesters away from the main rally, look for elements from this group to try to confront the white supremacists directly.
Heritage groups, Anonymous, etc.
Another group counter demonstrating against Rock Stone Mountain is a hodgepodge of loosely affiliated activists who banned together mostly because they have a common enemy.
This group includes Confederate flag enthusiasts who want to distinguish themselves from the white supremacist group. They will be joined by elements of the anarchist collective Anonymous, which pledged to disrupt the main rally, and their new allies in the militia movement. The militias have provided “security” for past flag rallies and have found common cause with Anonymous in a shared distrust of government.
Add to this group an integrated motorcycle gang called the Bastard MC and you’ve got strange bedfellows. In all, this group could eclipse 100, although organizers have predicted more. If Confederate flag supporters turn out in force, this could be the largest group, but interest among these supporters online is pretty modest for this event.