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Tallahassee counter-protest against white supremacists

By Maddie Hendrick |
January 29, 2018
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Tallahassee demonstrators confront white supremacists.
Tallahassee demonstrators confront white supremacists. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Tallahassee, FL — Members of the Tallahassee community came together Jan. 27 to protest a rally held by the white supremacist organization League of the South (LOS). The counter-demo was the brainchild of Florida State student athlete Richard Garzola and featured participation from organizations like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the FSU Black Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine and the NAACP.

Nearly 200 students and community members took part in the protest, where they were led in chants such as “No Nazis, no KKK, no racist USA” and “The South will not rise again.”

About 20 members of the League of the South, a self-described “ethno-nationalist” organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a Neo-Confederate hate group, showed up. The racists tried to start chants like “White side is the right side,” although they were mostly drowned out by the chants of the student-led counter protesters. The racist right wingers also verbally harassed Black and trans members of the counter-protest.

Garzola, who came up with the idea for the counter-protest the night before, said, “I organized the protest because it was what felt right to do in that moment. I didn’t care if 1,000 people showed up or just me, I was going to be felt.” When asked if he was concerned about his action drawing more attention to white supremacists, he responded “The attention could not have been drawn to the supremacists any more as in the news they were already being highlighted,” and added, “This was a scheduled anti-rally that became a rally against white supremacy.”

Jon Powell, a member of SDS, echoed Garzola on the importance of this rally: “It's important for people to know who the enemy is. Allowing these groups to be presented to the public on their own terms is much more harmful than any counter-protest would be.” Powell also emphasized, “The movement has to be larger than combating the most explicit elements of white supremacy. White supremacy is a fixture of capitalist society. To combat it is to combat all the systems that oppress us.”

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