Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Anti-racist protesters confront pro-Confederates in South Florida

By Conor Munro

Protester wipes feet with Confederate flag

Fort Lauderdale, FL – 50 militant anti-racist protesters confronted 200 racist bikers, skinheads and Confederate sympathizers on August 16. The pro-Confederate racists rode in from all over the South to invade Broward County, Florida. The racists planned to parade the Confederate battle flag through the streets of South Florida before rallying in Markham Park in Sunrise. Instead, they were met with a powerful local resistance in the form of local Black Lives Matter activists.

The Confederate battle flag is a symbol of slavery and racist oppression. Those who wave it intend to intimidate African Americans and uphold white supremacy. Local activists were determined to send a clear message that racists and their symbols are not welcome in South Florida.

The anti-racist protesters marched through the streets of Plantation chanting, “Black lives matter!” and “My people (yeah), I’ve got a story (yeah), let’s tell the whole wide world, this is people’s territory!” The determined group confronted the white racists in a park where they were gathered. They anti-racists boldly blockaded the entrance of the park for more than 30 minutes, preventing the motorcade from leaving.

The Confederate supporters jeered and yelled racial slurs from their pickup trucks and motorbikes that were covered in both Confederate and U.S. flags. In response, the protesters chanted, “Hey-hey, ho-ho, your racist flag has got to go!”

The Confederates became more and more enraged because they couldn’t enter or exit the park. Several times they attempted to run over protesters with their vehicles, but local activists stood their ground. The racists finally exited after local police came to their aid and removed anti-racist activists from the entrance by roughing them up. As the Confederate-donned trucks and motorcycles poured out of the park one of the counter-protesters pulled out a Confederate flag and set it on fire. An African American man wiped his shoes on another one as the racists watched.

The protest then headed to Markham Park in the town of Sunrise, to cut off the Confederate supporters. The same bold group of 50 was able to block both entrances to Markham Park. When the trucks covered in Confederate flags arrived they couldn’t break through the group who stood with their arms locked. Only a few were brave enough to get out of their trucks and yell at the protesters.

The local Florida activists displayed a lot of courage by standing up against both the threats made by racist Confederates and arrest threats made by police. Under threat of arrest, the protesters took to the street again and marched through Markham Park, right up to the pavilion that the Confederates had reserved for a rally and barbeque.

The protesters made it clear that racists and their flags are not welcome in Broward County, Florida, and that those who traveled from out of town to spread racism and hatred should get back in their trucks and leave. The Confederate supporters responded with Nazi salutes and threats of violence. One racist showed his gun to counter-protesters, trying to intimidate them.

Didier Ortiz, one of the organizers of the anti-racist rally, stated “It's upsetting to know that many hold on to this symbol of white supremacy as their heritage but that is no excuse to glorify it. The Confederacy is, and will always be, a symbol of oppression. It must be challenged and defeated at all possible opportunities.”

The action ended with local activists vowing to continue organizing to defeat racist discrimination and national oppression in their community. If Confederate supporters attempt to bring their racist rag back to South Florida they will surely be met with larger protests.

Protesters block racist caravan

#FortLauderdaleFL #Antiracism #BlackLivesMatter #ConfederateFlag