After several hours of mostly peaceful demonstrations Saturday in an Atlanta suburb that's home to a giant Confederate memorial, large numbers of police moved in to disperse the crowds when fights broke out, the AP reports. Several dozen right-wing demonstrators, some waving the Confederate battle flag and many wearing military gear, gathered in downtown Stone Mountain where they faced off against a few hundred counterprotesters, many of whom wore shirts or carried signs expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. People in both groups carried rifles. For several hours, there was little visible police presence and things were largely peaceful, aside from some shoving and pushing and spirited arguments.
But just before 1pm, fights broke out, with people punching and kicking each other and throwing rocks. That's when police officers in riot gear moved in to disperse the crowds. By 2pm, almost all of the protesters had left the area. Right-wing groups led by an Arkansas group called Confederate States III%, had applied for a permit to hold a rally in Stone Mountain Park, where there's a giant sculpture of Confederate leaders. The event was planned as a response to a march in the park by a Black militia group on July 4. But the Stone Mountain Memorial Association denied the permit on Aug. 4, citing a violent clash between groups in April 2016, spokesman John Bankhead said. The park closed to visitors Saturday and was set to reopen Sunday.
(Read more protests