UNIONTOWN – The area surrounding the Fayette County Courthouse looked like a military zone Saturday as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) rallied in Uniontown and citizens gathered around the area to protest the group’s presence.
More than 100 law enforcement officials, some on foot garnered with riot attire, others on horseback draped with guns, and still others hovering in a helicopter above the courthouse, stood ready if any conflict occurred. Attack dogs (K-9 officers) were also on the scene. In all, there were 60 state police officers and more than 50 patrolmen from surrounding communities.
Klan members told the crowd on Main Street that they were members of a family organization and added they’ve been together for 135 years. But still the crowd wasn’t so receptive.
The hooded KKK members yelled ‘white power’ with their arms raised in the air to the group of people that gathered around the fenced-in area. The response they received from crowd members, mostly comprised of young Caucasians, screamed ‘black power’ back at the costumed KKK. There were few blacks in the audience, but their rights were voiced by the others who were angered by the Klan’s racist remarks.
Messages delivered by the Klan were messages of a fallen community. ‘You need to do something with your community. You need to do your homework so you can be a model society and a model community,’ one Klan member said.
The Klan also brought music for the event. But the crowd wasn’t entertained. One song titled, ‘Taking Our City Back (artist unknown),’ was played loudly and could be heard from inside the courthouse.
Fayette County Commissioner Sean Cavanagh sat in his office and shook his head in disbelief while the song played.
‘This song is obviously being played to provoke anger. The only thing they’re trying to get is a negative reaction,’ he said. ‘You would think that since we’re in the new millennium this kind of activity wouldn’t exist. But throughout history there has been hate groups. People have even been hated just based on their religion. It’s a shame,’ he said.
Uniontown Mayor James R. Sileo said that no problems prevailed at the rally, and he and Cavanagh both commended the law enforcement officials for the work they contributed to the rally.
Sileo said the rally attracted a little more than 100 people and added that most of the people in the city were at a peace rally held across town.
‘It went really well. There were no problems and that’s what we wanted,’ Sileo said.