A planned racist gathering at Georgia’s Stone Mountain monument has encountered its first stumbling block after park authorities denied the planners a permit for 2019’s Super Bowl weekend.
Quoting the response letter from Bill Stephens, CEO of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, to Greg Calhoun and John Estes, the organizers of “Rock Stone Mountain II”:
Based on the previous violent event held by your organization on April 23, 2016, as well as your acknowledgement of potential violence in the permit application comments, the Stone Mountain Park Department of Public Safety does not have the available resources to protect not only the members of your organization but the Park employees and general public. Additionally, it was demonstrated by the previous event that a material disruption of Stone Mountain Park operations would exist as Stone Mountain Park had to close operations during your event to protect the public from violent confrontations.
Messages left for the Stone Mountain Memorial Association were not returned Tuesday or Wednesday.
The “previous violent event” referred to in the permit denial was also organized by Estes, who is a convicted felon and affiliate of a KKK group, and Calhoun.That event consisted of a dual rally at Stone Mountain Park and in nearby Rome, GA , that was organized by members of the Detroit, Michigan-based neo-Nazi group National Socialist Movement (NSM), Aryan Nations, Aryan Terror Brigade and the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The first “Rock Stone Mountain” was one of a series of rallies from 2015 through 2016 at the world’s largest monument to the confederacy.
The giant bas relief features four Confederate leaders on horseback, carved into the mountainside of a site that is hallowed ground for the hate movement. In 1915, the second generation of the Ku Klux Klan was born at its summit, shortly after the public lynching of Leo Frank.
Although the property is now owned by an entertainment conglomerate that has done its best to whitewash the site’s history, racist groups have repeatedly attempted to organize vigils at the park. In 2017 the park denied the Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan’s permit to burn a cross on the mountain top.
Calhoun and Estes indicated on their 2018 permit application that they anticipate 2,000 attendees at the event and noted that they are “not a group but a nonpartisan gathering of American citizens.”
Among the “nonpartisan American citizens” listed as “attending” the 2019 event, which is being organized largely on Facebook, are Calhoun, neo-Nazi and convicted violent criminal Michael Carothers aka Michael Weaver, and several members and leaders of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS), a militant secessionist group known for acts of violence at public demonstrations. Several Klansmen are listed as “interested” in the event, as are members of the neo-Confederate propaganda group Identity Dixie.
Many of the members of organized hate groups that are “interested” or “attending” the 2019 event were present for a 2015 rally dubbed “Defend Stone Mountain.” Members of the KKK, LOS and Sons of Confederate Veterans organized the event after plans were announced to erect a bell honoring Martin Luther King Jr. atop the mountain. The plan was later abandoned.
The organizers of “Rock Stone Mountain II” sought to hide their intentions for the rally, noting on their permit application, dated Oct. 28, 2018:
We have published 3:00 PM as the time of the event on our public page. However for the safety of our participants and the other visitors to Stone Mountain Park, we wish to begin at 1:00 PM and end at 4:00 PM. We would like to keep this time concealed until the day of the event in order to avoid lawless attempts to block traffic by Antifa and other groups.
The specter of “far left antifa violence” has lately been adopted as a raison d’être for militant far right groups who seek to project their violent intentions on antifascist protesters.
On Nov. 11, the group’s Facebook event page was updated to include a sketch of Confederate troops firing on an unseen enemy, with the caption “Aiming for Antifa on February 2nd, #RockStoneMountain.”