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Sunday May 29th, 2016 7:14PM

Klan demonstration ends with no arrests or ejections

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
BLAIRSVILLE - A spokesman for the Union County Sheriff's Office said a public demonstration by the Ku Klux Klan Saturday ended with no arrests or ejections from the event.

Under a permit obtained from the city of Blairsville, the International Keystone Knights of the KKK gathered at the Union County Courthouse.

Public Information Officer and Investigator for the Union County Sheriff's Office, C.J. Worden, said he estimated between 15 and 20 people there representing the KKK. He said a conservative estimate for the total crowd was about 350.

"There were a few people there that seemed to support the KKK both with posters and their gestures and words. I think there were more people there that were against the KKK," Worden said.

He said one church sponsored a group that held a silent protest.

"I think the majority of the people that were present were simply there to observe. This is nothing like anything that's ever happened in Blairsville before," Worden said.

As far as problems, Worden said there were only a couple of what he described as minor incidents involving unruly protestors.

"Nobody was ejected and nobody was arrested."

On behalf of the sheriff's office, Worden thanked the Blairsville Police Department, Union County Fire Department and Georgia State Patrol.

"And any other agencies that we might have missed that assisted us in making sure that everybody went home safely."

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan. The group tried unsuccessfully to adopt a portion of State Route 515 in Blairsville as part of the state's Adopt-a-Highway program.

The ACLU Foundation of Georgia filed the suit in Fulton County Superior Court, saying the state violated the group's right to free speech. The suit asked the court to force the state to issue an Adopt-a-Highway permit to the KKK.

The permits include a roadside sign along the right-of-way that's adopted.
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