Hundreds of counter protesters have gathered on East Main Street in downtown Durham, bracing for a march by white supremacist groups.
“No KKK!” they shouted. “No Fascists USA.”
The Sheriff’s Office has closed East Main Street in front of the old courthouse. Many downtown businesses are closing, county and other offices have closed.
Some protesters announced the Klan, which had been rumored to be marching at noon, was now planning to march at 4 p.m.
But local government leaders could not confirm the rumors, widely circulated on social media, including by the attorney for the eight protesters arrested in the toppling of a Confederate statue on Main Street Monday night.
“At this time, law enforcement continues to monitor the area and have not confirmed reports of activity,” Sheriff Mike Andrews said. “We are urging the public to avoid circulating rumors on social media and instead wait for verified information from officials monitoring the situation.”
City Manager Tom Bonfield said despite what some protesters were saying, no group had obtained a permit to march in Durham, a process that can take three weeks.
Durham attorney T. Greg Doucette was at the Durham County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. when he said deputies informed the judge that the courthouse was closing.
“The judge pulled us aside and recalendared our case for another day,” Doucette said.
He then left the courthouse after speaking with Durham assistant district attorney Clayton Jones.
[Durham sheriff arrests ladder climber in Confederate statue destruction: ‘No one is getting away with what happened.’]
[Attorney for Durham activists charged in toppling of Confederate statue: ‘There was no riot’]
[‘I’m glad that girl died’ during Virginia protest, says NC KKK leader]
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Voice mail from KKK leader: ‘I’m glad that girl died’ during Virginia protest
The leader of a North Carolina based group associated with the Ku Klux Klan left this voice mail saying he is glad that a woman died while taking part in a protest in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Heather Heyer was killed when James Allen Fields Jr. allegedly drove a car into a crowd of protesters at high speed, then fled the scene by backing up. Nineteen other people were injured.
Scratch Baker Manager Thurmond Buckelew said they made the decision to close because of “growing anxieties.” A representative of the nearby Suntrust Bank came in to the restaurant and said the bank also would be closing early, he said.
“We just wanted to be home and not be in the middle of it,” Buckelew said.
Suntrust Bank officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Downtown Durham YMCA and the YMCA at American Tobacco closed and all programs at both locations were canceled.
Eight people have been charged in Durham this week after a Monday protest tore down a Confederate statue in downtown Durham. The protest was a response to last weekend’s violence at a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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RAW VIDEO: Confederate statue toppled by protesters in Durham
Protesters celebrate after pulling down a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C. Monday afternoon Aug. 14, 2017.
Casey Toth and Virginia Bridges heraldsun.com
This is a developing story. Come back for updates.
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