The Ku Klux Klan plans to rally in front of the South Carolina statehouse in Columbia, in response to discussions about the Confederate flag potentially being removed from the building's grounds.
“We will be at the statehouse in Columbia, S.C., standing up for our Confederate history and all the southerners who fought and died against federal tyranny," an automated message on the Loyal White Knights' answering machine said, according to USA Today.
The rally is scheduled to take place from 3 to 5 p.m. ET on July 18, said Brian Gaines, spokesman for the S.C. Budget and Control Board, noting that reservations to use statehouse grounds are made online and given on a first-come, first-served basis.
The white supremacist group — based out of Pelham, North Carolina — continued in the message, "Our government is trying to erase white culture and our heritage right out of the pages of history books.”
In an e-mail statement sent to USA Today, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley noted, "This is our state, and they are not welcome.” At a press conference on June 22, Haley called on legislators to vote for removal of the flag.
It's only the latest incident in a tidal wave of resistance against actions to remove the flag, which comes in the wake of a June 17 shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The suspected gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, attended a bible study before declaring he was there “to kill black people” and opening fire, killing nine victims.
USA Today details, “After the shooting, which took place at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, photos surfaced of Roof posing with the Confederate flag.”
State legislators are slated to reconvene on Monday to consider legislation regarding removal of the flag, which currently flies next to a memorial honoring those who served in the Civil War.