KKK protests LGBTQ pride march in the Shoals - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

KKK protests LGBTQ pride march in the Shoals

People in Ku Klux Klan robes protested the Equality Shoals pride event. (Source: Benjamin Newbern) People in Ku Klux Klan robes protested the Equality Shoals pride event. (Source: Benjamin Newbern)
Equality Shoals held a pride march in Florence. (Source: Benjamin Newbern) Equality Shoals held a pride march in Florence. (Source: Benjamin Newbern)
Equality Shoals held a pride march in Florence. (Source: Benjamin Newbern) Equality Shoals held a pride march in Florence. (Source: Benjamin Newbern)
People in Ku Klux Klan robes protested the Equality Shoals pride event. (Source: Benjamin Newbern) People in Ku Klux Klan robes protested the Equality Shoals pride event. (Source: Benjamin Newbern)
Ku Klux Klan members protested the Equality Shoals pride event. (Source: Benjamin Newbern) Ku Klux Klan members protested the Equality Shoals pride event. (Source: Benjamin Newbern)
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

Organizers of Pride Day in the Shoals put on an equality march on Sunday similar to those across the country. They faced a dozen counter-protesters, some of whom wore white robes and waved flags with Klu Klux Klan logos.

This was the first parade and march for the LGBTQ community in northwest Alabama. More than 200 people showed up to the equality march in Florence.

Some had confrontations with KKK members, but none were violent.

Florence police did provide extra security for the event.

Benjamin Newbern, executive director of Equality Shoals, organized it and believes most of the protesters were from out of state. Newbern said he's embarrassed, outraged and devastated the KKK members were preaching hate in his hometown. He called it a solid example of the hate many people face today.

"This was shocking to me that in broad daylight, that in 2017, at a gay pride march, here they were. But again, a reminder that there is much work to be done and that hate has no place here in the Shoals," said Newbern.

One group called Defenders of the Confederate Cross said they were there to observe, look for anti-fascists, called antifa, and not crash the event. Zee James, who is over the Alabama division and was at the march, said she asked on Facebook for fellow southerners to help identify any antifa members in efforts to help preserve the history of the south like statues and monuments. James would not do a formal on-camera interview.

"There's always a threat," Newbern said about a heightened sense of awareness. "A year ago in Orlando, 49 people went out dancing and didn't come home that night. LGBTQ folks on a daily basis, we monitor our actions and look over our shoulders because hate crimes still happen in our country.

Monday marked the year anniversary where members of the Equality Shoals group held a vigil at Wilson Park to remember the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

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