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Klan and black groups expected to go head to head at protests at South Carolina state capital

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A Ku Klux Klan chapter and an African-American group plan overlapping demonstrations on Saturday outside the South Carolina State House, where state officials removed the Confederate battle flag last week.

Governor Nikki Haley, who called for the flag’s removal from the State House grounds after the killing of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church last month, urged South Carolinians to steer clear of the Klan rally.

“Our family hopes the people of South Carolina will join us in staying away from the disruptive, hateful spectacle members of the Ku Klux Klan hope to create over the weekend and instead focus on what brings us together,” Haley said in a statement posted to her Facebook page.

The Charleston shooting rekindled a controversy that has long surrounding the Confederate flag. A website linked to suspected gunman Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, contained a racist manifesto and showed him in photos posing with the flag.

Opponents see its display as a painful reminder of the South’s pro-slavery past, while supporters see it as an honorable emblem of Southern heritage.

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a Pelham, North Carolina-based chapter that bills itself as “the largest Klan in America,” expects about 200 people to attend its demonstration, planned from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Calls to the chapter, one of numerous unconnected extremist groups in the United States that have adopted the Klan name, were not immediately returned.

The Klan, long known for its conical hats and cross burnings, traces its roots back to the years after the South’s defeat in the American Civil War of 1861-65. In general, modern chapters are stridently opposed to racial integration.

A voice message on the chapter’s phone line said its members are “standing up for our Confederate history and all the Southerners who fought and died against federal tyranny. Our government is trying to erase white culture and our heritage right out of the pages of our history books.”

A Jacksonville, Florida, group called Black Educators for Justice expects a crowd of about 300 for its rally, planned for noon to 4 p.m. The group is run by James Evans Muhammad, a former director of the New Black Panther Party.

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The Black Educators group wants to highlight continuing racial inequality, which Muhammad says endures despite the Confederate flag’s removal.

“The flag coming down is not progress. It is an illusion of progress,” he told the State newspaper in Columbia.

Muhammad said his group would not interfere with the Klan rally during the hour the two groups occupy the north side of the Capitol building.

(Reporting by Greg Lacour; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Beech)

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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