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Conservative Twitter trolls attack activist DeRay McKesson after Charleston appearances

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A prominent young civil rights campaigner was targeted in a divisive spat on social media, after joining crowds mourning the shooting deaths of nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina this week.

The appearance at gatherings in the South Carolina city of DeRay Mckesson – who has played a prominent role in the national race relations debate sparked by a police shooting in Ferguson last summer – and his comments on social media about race and the Charleston shooting sparked a hostile “hashtag” on Twitter: #GoHomeDeray.

On Saturday the subject was popular enough to be trending. It was not immediately possible to establish who generated the hashtag, which prompted race-tinged comments and then a backlash from users accusing those speaking positively about the hashtag of acting out of hatred . Other commenters praised Mckesson for having the power to rile those posting racist messages sufficiently to cause the hashtag to trend .

“I wouldn’t be here [in Charleston] if those people had not been killed,” Mckesson told CNN when asked about #GoHomeDeray, referring to the allegedly racism-driven church shooting.

On Twitter, he said : “I continue to talk about race because race continues to impact my life and the lives of those who look like me. I’m not the enemy, racism is.”

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Mckesson became an outspoken figure in the Black Lives Matter movement that developed following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, by a white police officer in the predominantly black town of Ferguson, Missouri, last August, then rippled across the country in protest at other police killings of unarmed black men.

Related: Obama takes gun control debate to Twitter: ‘It’s time we do something’

He left his job as a school administrator in Minneapolis to join the demonstrations in Missouri and rose to prominence after starting an online newsletter with a fellow protester. Mckesson was later named by Fortune magazine as an important new popular leader.

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The increasingly heated Twitter exchanges included a post that appeared to show pictures of local businesses with anti-DeRay messages spelled out on public display boards, although the veracity of the images could not immediately be established.

One carried the message: “The people of South Carolina have spoken.” Another post accused Mckesson of leading a “rent-a-mob”.

Supporters hit back, telling the campaigner they were behind him and the trending hashtag was a compliment to the power of his voice.

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

In May, McKesson criticized CNN for racism and you can view video of that incident below:


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Trump is ‘one pointy white hat shy of a Klan rally’: GOP strategist Rick Wilson ripped Trump as a ‘flagrant racist’ on MSNBC

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Republican strategy ripped President Donald Trump for being a "flagrant racist" during a Monday night appearance on MSNBC.

Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed Wilson about Trump's latest nativist attacks on young women of color in Congress.

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Stephen Colbert says Trump hates The Squad because ‘he’s the leader of the rival gang The Klan’

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Stephen Colbert

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