Counter-protest planned after Confederate event approved at Stone Mountain Park

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:07 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - After its permit was denied last year with officials citing a “clear and present danger” as cause for concern, the Sons of Confederate Veterans will host its Confederate Memorial Day event at Stone Mountain Park this month. But, activists plan to counter-protest.

“I’m not surprised because Stone Mountain--it was designed, it was conceived to celebrate racism. To celebrate white supremacy. And for them, that’s home.”

President Richard Rose says there was no shock at Atlanta NAACP headquarters upon learning Confederate Memorial Day services were approved at Stone Mountain Park.

The site has hosted similar gatherings for nearly two decades.

“For 18 years without any trouble and the idea that we can’t have a lawful meeting with a permit, at a state park that’s designed for a confederate memorial seems a little obtuse to me,” noted Martin O’Toole with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Guns, posters, and even counter-protests marked previous Stone Mountain events for the confederacy organization. However, in 2021 the group had its permit denied. Officials said the event would pose a danger to those in attendance.

But O’Toole argues their only goal is to recognize those who’ve died.

“Honor soldiers, the civilians who fought and sacrificed so much for an independent republic,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rose questioned, “They believe they should be entitled to celebrate a failed insurrection against America, what country in the world has ever done that?”

Attempts to remove the confederate history, the prominent carvings, failed due to Georgia’s law on monuments. Despite that, there’s been two years’ worth of ongoing community meetings to transform the park’s identity. It’s why activists believe hosting the holiday is a step backward.

But O’Toole says, “Everybody is welcome to come. We hope they will be respectful and listen to what we have to say.”

“We’ll be out there with our own counter-demonstration. When they get there, we’ll be there,” Rose confirmed to CBS46.

The approved permit outlines that the events will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 30, with no more than 200 participants permitted.

CBS46 confirmed the original permit application was filed by Georgia Senate Candidate Richard K. Straut, who is running for District 49, Hall County.

His campaign website says “Richard will NEVER bow to the threats and bullying tactics of the liberal mob.”