Georgia's Stone Mountain Park shuts down ahead of anticipated militia rally
By Rich McKay ATLANTA (Reuters) - With internet rumors of a looming conflict between an anti-government militia, white supremacist rally-goers and counter-protesters, Georgia state officials said Stone Mountain Park, famed for its huge rock carving of Confederate leaders, will be closed to the public on Saturday. The Three Percenters militia had applied last month to hold a more than 2,000-strong rally 'to defend and protect our history and second Amendment rights' on Aug. 15 at the park northeast of Atlanta
By Rich McKay
ATLANTA (Reuters) - With internet rumors of a looming conflict between an anti-government militia, white supremacist rally-goers and counter-protesters, Georgia state officials said Stone Mountain Park, famed for its huge rock carving of Confederate leaders, will be closed to the public on Saturday.
The Three Percenters militia had applied last month to hold a more than 2,000-strong rally "to defend and protect our history and second Amendment rights" on Aug. 15 at the park northeast of Atlanta. The application was denied by state officials, who cited violence at a similar event in 2016.
But several online groups, including one dubbed "Defending Stone Mountain," vowed to march in the park anyway and asked participants to come with Confederate and U.S. flags. Another group, the Atlanta Antifacists, vowed to hold a counter-protest.
Park officials were not immediately available for comment late on Friday, but said in a short statement that the park will be closed on Saturday, due to security concerns.
The city of Stone Mountain, home to about 6,000 residents, also issued a statement asking the public to avoid the area.
Stone Mountain Park, which draws more than 4 million visitors a year to its sprawling 3,200 acres of woods and trails and amusements, is home to the largest monument to America's Civil War Confederacy.
Park authorities have faced renewed calls for the removal of its nine-story-high bas-relief sculpture of Confederate leaders since the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Floyd's killing helped revive a long-simmering conflict between groups seeking to abolish Confederate statues and sculptures, which they see as pro-slavery symbols, and those who believe they honor the traditions and history of the South.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.