Reuters, By Greg Lacour, July 18
Columbia, SC – At least five people were arrested on Saturday as white-supremacist and African-American groups clashed outside the South Carolina State House, where the Confederate battle flag was removed last week after a half-century, authorities said.
Beginning at noon, a Florida-based group called Black Educators for Justice demonstrated on the north side of the capitol. Tensions rose quickly when a column of about 50 white supremacists, many carrying Confederate flags and one a Nazi flag, marched toward the south steps of the capitol at 3:15 p.m.
Lines of state police separated them from a large crowd that jeered and booed. When the group reached the State House lawn, a scuffle broke out, and police moved in quickly to keep the fight from spreading.
While no further violence broke out, the atmosphere, on a day when temperatures neared 100 degrees, remained tense. Several times, police had to separate people shouting obscenities at one another.
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