Annapolis rights leaders to counter Klan rally

October 19, 1994|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,Sun Staff Writer

Civil rights leaders in Annapolis are organizing a demonstration to counter a Ku Klux Klan rally scheduled for Oct. 29 at Lawyers Mall in front of the State House.

As the Klansmen demonstrate on one side of town, civil rights groups will march down Main Street, then congregate at the First Baptist Church on West Washington St. The counter-protesters say that they will not gather or march near the Klan rally.

Klan leaders have predicted that their demonstration could bring about the largest gathering of white supremacists in the city since the 1960s. But civil rights leaders say that they are likely to draw much bigger crowds.

"Annapolis is where a lot of people get their point across," said Imperial Wizard Roger L. Kelly. "We're going to say we need to get back to Republican politics."

"I think the Klan is misreading the political climate that exists in this county, and I think what they're going to find is they'll be roundly condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike," countered Ward 5 Alderman Carl O. Snowden.

Mr. Kelly, who organizes in Anne Arundel County, said he expects between 60 and 80 Klansmen to demonstrate. While the group is not planning a cross burning, some participants will be dressed in the traditional white sheets and hoods. A separate Klan "security detail" will join the demonstration dressed in military fatigues, he said.

Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins condemned the rally yesterday.

"We have a sign out there that says 'Welcome to Annapolis.' Well, we welcome them to Annapolis like any other person, but in this case I don't welcome their message because this is America," he said.

Mr. Hopkins is to join Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall and state Delegates Theodore J. Sophocleus and John G. Gary, the Democratic and Republican candidates for county executive, at a news conference tomorrow to protest the Klan's arrival.

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