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Ku Klux Klan planning South Carolina Statehouse rally over Confederate flag

"This is our state, and they are not welcome," Gov. Nikki Haley said of the group.

By Kate Stanton
Ku Klux Klan planning South Carolina Statehouse rally over Confederate flag
Members of the Ku Klux Klan wants to protest any possible removal of the Confederate flag flying above the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse in Charleston, S.C. Photo by Kevin Liles/UPI | License Photo

COLUMBIA, S.C., June 30 (UPI) -- The Ku Klux Klan has reserved the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia next month for a rally opposing the removal of the Confederate flag.

The Loyal White Knights out of Pelham, N.C., said in their reservation application that they expect 200 people to attend the event, which is planned for July 18.

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Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the extremist group was "not welcome" in South Carolina.

"This is our state, and they are not welcome," Haley said.

Haley has joined a number of prominent politicians calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds after nine black parishioners were shot and killed at a Charleston church earlier this month.

The suspected gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, has posed for Facebook photos holding the controversial flag.

Brian Gaines, who manages Statehouse reservations, told Politico that the South Carolina Budget and Control Board allows anyone to reserve the grounds "on a first-come, first-serve basis."

Legislators are expected to vote next month on whether to bring down the Confederate flag. Haley has said she hopes it is removed by July 4.

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