Klan Members Hold Rally at Gettysburg

Published September 03, 2006

| Associated Press

About 30 Ku Klux Klan members proclaimed hatred for blacks, Jews, gays and Latinos as they stood behind barricades at the Civil War battlefield where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

Gordon Young of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan also called Saturday for the U.S. to pull its troops out of Iraq and use them to patrol the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration.

The World Knights obtained a permit in July for the two-hour demonstration. The National Park Service granted it under the group's First Amendment rights to free speech.

Several groups counterdemonstrated. Park Service spokeswoman Katy Lawhon said there were no major incidents; one man was cited for entering a restricted area carrying a rainbow flag.

Confederate re-enactors from Virginia protested the Klan's adoption of the Confederate battle flag as an emblem and its claim to be a continuance of the Confederate cause.

"These guys don't stand for anything I stand for," said Tim McCown of Jefferson, Md. "And it's time we disengage our flag from what they stand for."

Representatives of the national Sons of Confederate Veterans also came to protest the Klan's efforts to identify with the Confederacy. In a nearby park, churches and other groups held a Unity Day rally.

Gettysburg resident Steve Alexander, 52, shouted himself hoarse from the barricades, calling the Klansmen cowards, and worse.

"I'm sick and tired of this," Alexander said.

More than 150 law enforcement officials patrolled the event, which drew about 200 spectators, some of whom echoed the Klan's calls while others jeered their rhetoric.

Young's group and other white-supremacist organizations held a similar event June 10 at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md.

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