Protesters arrested at KKK rally for slavery statue

Twenty-three people protesting a KKK rally have been arrested in Charlottesville, at a park where the statue of a Confederate general stands.

The few dozen white supremacists, who were heavily outnumbered, were there to protest the planned removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, who led pro-slavery Confederate armies in the US Civil War.

The Mayor urged anti-racist protesters to stay away to avoid a confrontation, but around 1000 of them showed up anyway.

"I'm Jewish, a lot of my family is black, and with the way the world is going today, I might end up in an oven and they might end up on a tree," one protester told local news outlet WVTF.

"I'm just here to show the forces of love and tolerance outnumber the forces of intolerance and hate."

Ku Klux Klan member protests a statue's removal.
Ku Klux Klan member protests the statue's removal. Photo credit: Getty

The KKK were only there for less than half an hour, but when they tried to leave protesters stood in their way. Riot police cleared them with tear gas, and arrested 23.

The statue's removal has been approved by the Charlottesville City Council, but it's still there - and will be at least until a court hearing in late August.

The statue's highest-profile supporter is perhaps Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who was infamously punched in the face whilst giving a TV interview in January. In May, Mr Spencer led a torch-lit protest against the statue's removal.

Protesters clashed with police, though most were peaceful.
Protesters clashed with police, though most were peaceful. Photo credit: Getty

Gen Lee was a talented military tactician, and once said African-Americans were "immeasurably better off [as slaves in the US] than in Africa".

He thought slavery was "necessary for their instruction as a race" and would only end when "ordered by a wise merciful providence".

He had his own slaves for many years, but did release them prior to the Civil War.