Hate was on the agenda the day the Neo-Nazis came to town. They came to Charlotte, NC from Detroit & joined with the National Socialist Movement to drum up support for the creation of an alternative third party based on its platform of white supremacy.
How could such a hateful message be conquered? Send In The Clowns.
WCNC reported the story:
Video Transcript & Video Screengrabs from the event:
Reporter Ben Thompson of WCNC: Different groups clash in uptown today, the neo-Nazis and members of the Klan confronted at an immigration rally this afternoon. Despite the tension, NBC Charlotte Reporter Diana Rugg tells us protestors were determined to make this a laughing matter.
(sound of toy horns blowing, showing crowds of clown with colorful hair & red clown noses holding balloons & a variety of signs)
Reporter Diana Rugg: They brought their squeaky toys, their whistles, their red noses & noisemakers. This was no ordinary circus.
(Clown) Tom Strini: Instead of meeting hate with hate, they were gonna meet hate with love.
Rugg: The colorful clowns had a message:
Clown-Friendly) Lacey Williams of Latin American Coalition: Well, the straight up message for us is "You guys look silly."
Rugg: To answer the rally...
Neo-Nazi/KKK Racist 1: We stand in defense of white people all over the country.
Rugg: ...they'd rather no one attend.
(Clown-Friendly) Williams: We're dressed like clowns and you're the ones that look funny.
Rugg: Counter-protestors at Saturday's National Socialist Movement & Clan Rally outnumber the visitors 5 to 1... answering chants of "White Power!" with "Dwight Power"
...and "White Flour"
...and a city councilman in a clown nose.
City Council Member John Autry: We're just a great big happy melting pot.
Rugg: To make the point, that no one here is going to take hate speech seriously.
(Clown-Friendly) Williams: I think it's really important to have a sense of humor. I mean, what they want is for us to fight them. They want us to hit them with hate. We can't become them.
Rugg: So while the rallyers came to speak about immigration, they were made to feel unwelcome by a crowd that decided that something funny was going on here. They were going to say something about it.
(Clown) Strini: It just shows that more people in this country are in favor of equal human rights than there are people who want to kick all dark-skinned people out of the country.
Rugg: And there were more than 75 police officers at the rally. We don't have an exact number because police don't release that. But the officers then gave the Klansmen & national socialists a police escort back to their cars while protestors followed. However, there were no arrests. Diana Rugg, NBC Charlotte.
Up with Wife Power!
Up with Dwight Power!
Up with White Flour!
Here's a selection of clown rally signs from the event:
I'd Rather Be An Immigrant Than A Racist
No To Haters
Hatred Is Easy: Love Takes Courage
Why So Serious
White Flour (showing picture of Pillsbury Dough Boy)
I Thought This Was A Clown Convention
As a special side note: Charlotte, NC's Mecklenburg County voted to re-elect President Barack Obama 60.7% to Romney's 38.2%. Charlotte has been doing their state proud in a big way!
('white flour' photo credits go to Diana Rugg.)
(Credit to jimstaro for first bringing attention to the story.)