League of the South: No more armed rallies in Charlottesville

The neo-Confederate group agreed not to assemble with weapons in the city still reeling from August's far-right protest.

    A white supremacist wearing symbols of the Traditionalist Worker Party bangs his shield [File: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]
    A white supremacist wearing symbols of the Traditionalist Worker Party bangs his shield [File: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]
    Correction 27/03/2018: A previous version of this article stated the League of the South was 'banned' from Charlottesville. They made an agreement not rally as an 'armed militia' in the city, but can still attend protests there.

    The neo-Confederate League of the South (LoS) group has agreed not to rally as an "armed milita" in Charlottesville, Virginia, where an August 2017 white supremacist rally turned deadly.

    The group was present during the "Unite the Right" rally on August 12, 2017, when white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis from across the country gathered to march against the city's decision to remove a Confederate monument.

    The deal, which was signed off by Judge Richard Moore on Monday, is part of an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.

    The suit defines an "armed militia" as two or more armed members of the same group acting in concert.

    LoS will still be able to rally in Charlottesville, without weapons, and a single armed member will be allowed to enter the city. 

    If the neo-Confederate group breaks the agreement, police will not be able to arrest them immediately, due to the fact the suit was filed in civil court. Another civil suit of contempt will have to be filed before action can be taken. 

    Filed in October in Charlottesville Circuit Court, that lawsuit seeks to prevent Unite the Right organisers and groups that participated in the rally from returning to the city. The city and several local businesses joined the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit also names Redneck Revolt, an armed leftwing group that protested against white nationalist groups. 

    As far-right protesters clashed with anti-racists, anti-fascists and local community members during that rally, James Alex Fields Jr, who was photographed marching with a neo-Nazi group earlier in the day, allegedly rammed his car into a group of anti-racist marchers, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

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    At least 19 others were injured during the incident.

    League of the South was founded in 1994 and advocates for southern states to secede from the US. It has been active in the alt-right, a loosely knit movement including white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

    The SPLC considers League of the South a hate group.

    League of the South has yet to comment on the deal.

    On April 7, the group plans to hold a demonstration in Wetumpka, Alabama, where it will honour David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), according to its website.

    Increasingly fractured

    In January, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that at least 18 people were killed by white supremacists in 2017.

    According to the SPLC, at least 100 people have been killed or injured by alt-right affiliates since 2014.

    Since the Charlottesville rally, far-right groups across the country have become increasingly fractional, suffering from both infighting and public backlash.

    Many groups, such as the nationalist socialist Vanguard America and the neo-Nazi blog Daily Stormer, lost their website host services after Unite the Right, while many leading white supremacist figures were been booted from social media outlets.

    The neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) ostensibly collapsed earlier this month when party leader Matthew Heimbach was charged with battery.

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    That violent incident stemmed from Heimbach's reported affair with the wife of Matt Parrot, TWP's spokesman and the step-father of Heimbach's wife.

    Parrot subsequently resigned from the party and deleted its website.

    It was the latest in a long series of controversial incidents that have sewn division among and within groups on the alt-right.

    US President Donald Trump has been repeatedly criticised for hesitancy to condemn the far right.

    While running for president, Trump sparked outrage when he initially declined to disavow David Duke's endorsement. 

    After Charlottesville, critics decried the president's claim that "many sides" were to blame for the violence that climaxed with Heyer's death. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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