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Signs of the Times in Paris

by Published on

The Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party staged rival protests yesterday in Paris, Texas.

Ah, Paris.

The Panthers bused in several hundred protesters to voice their anger over prosecutors’ decision to drop charges in this case. The Klan showed up for a counter-protest.

AP writer Jeff Carlton’s dispatch describes several revealing moments.

The Klan turnout was the size of your average softball team:

Rock Banks, who says he’s the grand titan of the East Texas Ku Klux Klan, said his group met last week to discuss the event but decided not to hold a major rally because it would lead to more protests.

‘If we showed up in force, with all of our robes on, they’d be back here in a month,’ he said.

You know, they could have turned out in force. They just didn’t want to. Really.

The dueling protests were peaceful, Carlton reports. Although:

Things grew tense early on when a member of the New Black Panther Party walked into the protest zone set up for white supremacists and stood inches away from a skinhead. The skinhead screamed at the black man to go home as they two stood inches away filming each other with their cameras.

The videos will be on the Web any minute now. Welcome to radical street protest in the new-media age.

Dave Mann has been with the Observer since 2003. Before that, he worked as a reporter in Fort Worth and Washington, D.C. He was born and raised in Philadelphia. He thinks border collies are the world’s greatest dogs, and believes in the nourishing powers of pickup basketball.