Counterdemonstrators Disrupt Supremacists’ Anti-King March
A band of seven white supremacists who marched through downtown Atlanta on Saturday to protest the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday met with a hail of bricks, rocks and bottles hurled by angry counterdemonstrators along the route.
None of the marchers were hit as they paraded and chanted along the mile-long route, but several National Guardsmen and law enforcement officers were struck by projectiles from the crowds of counterdemonstrators, officials said. Two photographers also were hit, one seriously enough to require treatment.
Police said 42 people were arrested on a variety of charges. Security had been extremely tight for the event. Many major downtown streets along the march route were blocked off to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Tried to Keep Sides Apart
More than 2,000 National Guardsmen, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents, State Patrol officers and members of the Atlanta Police Department lined the route and surrounded the marchers as they paraded. Security forces in riot gear attempted to keep marchers and counterdemonstrators a block away from each other along the route so they would not meet face-to-face.
But John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said the counterdemonstrators “got too large to handle” at some points along the route and managed to break through.
Lt. Col. James Wooten, a Georgia National Guard spokesman, said there were an estimated 4,500 counterdemonstrators, but other estimates put the figure considerably lower.
The counterdemonstrators first broke through at a point near Underground Atlanta, a historic section of town now undergoing renovation. They picked up bricks and other rubble and began hurling them at the marchers.
The counterdemonstrators did not seem concerned that the projectiles might hit the security forces surrounding the marchers or unprotected news representatives who were inside police lines following the marchers.
“My brother was killed by the Ku Klux Klan,” one counterdemonstrator shouted.
At two or three other points along the march route, the counterdemonstrators managed to get close enough to hurl b$SYSTEM SYSTEM WIREOUT A012389 2/02/89 11:22:30 ‘
Barrett said the march was designed to protest the King birthday holiday observed in Atlanta last Monday with an ecumenical service at King’s old church and a parade through downtown.