About 40 people turned out to Penn-North station Saturday night to stand in solidarity with counter-protesters who faced off against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., earlier in the day.
A number of counter-protesters from Baltimore were in the crowd in Charlottesville, where violent clashes broke out and a car plowed through a group of people, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others.
The Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon organized Baltimore’s last-minute rally, which was first scheduled for 8 p.m. but delayed about half an hour by thunderstorms that swept through the city.
“That rain is the heavens crying out for our society,” Witherspoon said at the gathering.
Light rain and heat lightning did not stop demonstrators from showing up to the corner, where half a dozen speakers who were in Charlottesville earlier Saturday shared their accounts of having bricks and tear gas grenades hurled at them and getting maced.
Andrew Mayton, a 26-year-old Waverly resident, said he attended to counter-protest Saturday, as well as a previous counter-demonstration against a Ku Klux Klan rally in July. He said Saturday’s group of white nationalists was much larger.
“These were clearly violent people,” he said. “They were there looking for blood.”
Al Shiflet, 27, also went to Charlottesville, and said it was a “horrifying” experience.
“People are armed, they’re ready… they want to kill people and personally that experience is really hard to articulate,” Shiflet said. “I think we did great work today and I think it can be hopeful but we need people like everyone here joining in and fighting and being together.”
Other speakers encouraged Baltimore to “finish what Charlottesville started” by removing its own confederate monuments. The white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville were protesting the planned removal a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Witherspoon, among the last to speak, called for the group to continue to stand against institutional racism.
“What we experienced today is no different than what we experienced in 2015 when the police murdered Freddie Gray,” he said. “We have a moral obligation to join the resistance.”
The rally tapered off as the group sang and chanted by candlelight.
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