About a dozen people wearing white robes and waving Confederate flags gathered near the Hanover County Courthouse on Saturday and encouraged people to call a Ku Klux Klan hotline, according to witnesses and authorities.
A spokesman for the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said there were no altercations or disruptions to traffic during the brief rally early Saturday afternoon, but multiple people called police or took to social media to condemn what one witness described as a KKK recruitment drive.
Shannon Spiggle said she rushed to the courthouse to protest the white supremacists after a friend told her about it. Spiggle, who identifies as Jewish, said she felt the need to make her presence known.
“I was not surprised at all,” she said about the gathering. “I was grief stricken. It’s just so sad.”
According to county authorities and images of the rally, the event was organized by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In February, literature attached to the Pelham, N.C.-based group was found in people’s yards throughout the region.
The group also held a rally in Charlottesville in July 2017, one month before the Unite the Right rally where a neo-Nazi supporter plowed his car into a crowd of people, injuring approximately 30 people and killing protester Heather Heyer.
Hanover officials contacted Saturday said the gathering near the courthouse, which lasted roughly an hour, was unanticipated.
Hanover Board of Supervisors Chairman W. Canova Peterson said he was pleased that things remained peaceful despite the heightened tension.
“I 100% support citizens of this community and country being able to express their opinions — as long as they do it peacefully,” said Peterson, while noting that he disagrees with those who appeared at the rally on Saturday. “There’s a lot of people who disagree with me, but I’m not going to try and shut them down.”