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'Silent witness' to counter Klan rally Saturday

A "Silent Witness of Love" will be held Saturday in Athens to coincide with a rally of the Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Rev. Jeremy Lucas, rector of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Athens, said that silent witness participants will not protest or engage the Klan. Those joining in will stand on sidewalks around City Hall and hold signs bearing the word "Love."

City officials gave the Klan group a permit to hold an anti-immigration rally at 3 p.m.

Lucas said the witness is meant to show that local citizens do not condone hate and will not contribute to hate through violent confrontation. He said that the Athens Ministerial Alliance endorses the gathering. Lucas said that anyone is welcome to join in who will remain silent.

Participants are asked to meet at 2:30 at any of these churches: St. Timothy's, 207 E. Washington St.; First United Methodist, 208 W. Hobbs St.; or First Presbyterian, 112 S. Jefferson St.

Signs will be distributed and participants will walk to the site, starting from St. Timothy's and picking up participants from the other churches on the way, Lucas said.

He said he felt disappointed and frustrated to learn that a Klan group was coming to his town. Lucas said planners hope the message of love will overwhelm hate. For more information, call 232-3541.

Melanie Smith

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