About 100 demonstrators gathered last night in southern Anne Arundel County for a candlelight vigil to protest a Ku Klux Klan recruitment rally.
Carrying signs reading "Unite," "Value diversity" and "Ban racism," the demonstrators stayed about a quarter-mile away from the rally, which was on private property, to avoid direct confrontations, they said. About 40 Anne Arundel County police officers were on hand. No incidents were reported.
Roger L. Kelly, grand dragon of the Maryland KKK, said he expected 100 to 150 to attend the rally, but police said their informal watch of those entering the grounds of a private residence in West River suggested a much smaller turnout. Mr. Kelly said the rally's purpose was "to recruit members and educate the public."
Reporters, who were barred from the meeting, could see a Confederate flag on display and hear cries of "White power" from a nearby street.
The anti-Klan demonstrators stood with candles at the intersection of Muddy Creek and Chalk Point roads.
"We made a decision not to go face to face with the Klan," said Kathy Freeman, one of the organizers of the protest. "We're not trying to educate the Klan. We're here on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have been oppressed by the Klan." A prayer service was scheduled for later.
Mr. Kelly said, "I think they ought to go back to their own church and pray for their own sins of keeping homosexuals and race-mixers in the church."