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Chanting protesters drown out Klan rally



Published: Sun, January 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Chanting protestersdrown out Klan rally

NEWPORT, Tenn. -- Rain and drums drowned out the words of two dozen Ku Klux Klansmen on Saturday at a rally days after a wooden cross was burned on the lawn of the town's first black mayor.

The rally, the first public Klan event in the region in decades, fell on Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's birthday and two days before the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Klan organizers said the town of 7,100 was selected because it was a convenient location, not because it has a black mayor. They denied involvement in the cross burning early Wednesday.

About 800 people attended a diversity festival Saturday held to counter the Klan event. Mayor Roland Dykes received a standing ovation.

"Now is the time for Americans to renounce the protests of a vocal minority, which opposes our fight to preserve and promote freedom," Dykes said.

At the Klan rally, about 400 people watched from behind yellow police tape, chanting and playing drums to drown out the Klan's remarks.

Kansas doctor offersfree abortions

WICHITA, Kan. -- A doctor who was once shot by an abortion protester marked the 29th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by offering free abortions Saturday, a move that drew more than 100 protesters to his clinic.

With the protesters yelling and praying from beyond a fence, Dr. George Tiller spoke to 65 supporters Saturday morning and warned them that abortion rights are at a fragile point.

"This is an alert. It is a wakeup call," Tiller said. "We are sort of a huddled mass here together, a few of us arrayed against a vast enemy. We are armed with our attitude and our conviction that men and women are reproductively equal."

Former President Clinton had thwarted opponents' attempts to curb access to abortions, legalized by a Supreme Court decision Jan. 22, 1973. President Bush, however, opposes abortion, and conservatives in Congress and several states have pushed for abortion restrictions.

In a proclamation late Friday, Bush declared today to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

Tiller said Saturday at least 32 low-income women had signed up for the free first-trimester abortions.

Associated Press




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