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100s Laugh At, Deride, Curse, Pray About Racist Hale In Champaign

Racist Matt Hale flees Champaign under police protection, avoids tar and feathers
A crowd of numbering approximately 300 expressed diverse ways of rejecting the racist message of Matt Hale and the World Church of the Creator in Champaign, Illinois on Sunday evening, Sept. 9. Hale, one of whose erstwhile followers killed a number of people and wounded others (including a University of Illinois student walking on the street) in a bloody multi-state rampage of drive-by hate before committing suicide two years ago, spoke to an angry and derisive crowd. The crowd, apparently composed entirely of opponents of racism, laughed at him when he entered the Champaign City Library Auditorium and then proceeded to harangue him as he advocated white supremacy.

Community members were a diverse group. Church members brushed shoulders with masked black bloc anarchists. All shades of skin color joined in a unanimous rejection of hatred. The only two apparent supporters of Hale entered the auditorium early, then left when they realized they would be alone in the crowd inside. One, wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt, spoke with a News-Gazette reporter briefly. When asked if he was a racist, he quickly changed the subject, asserting he was just an old friend of Hale’s who wanted to "see what he was up to." His curiosity apparently quenched, he departed with his silent friend, pausing to give a Hitler salute to the crowd, before turning tail and fleeing under the protection of the police standing nearby as the crowd threw angry jeers at his disgusting display.

Reports from those inside indicated that Hale’s only supporters at that point were the half-dozen sycophants who accompanied him under police escort in a MTD bus to a side door of the library. Ministers of a wide variety of denominations led a prayer service to ask for deliverance from racism in our society outside the library. After that, anarchists and black bloc members held a free speech forum in the street, where a number of different points of view on combating systematic racism were expressed by those present. Speakers urged the crowd to reject racism in their day-to-day lives, while noting the irony of the same police that often repress the black community working so hard to protect Hale’s rights.

The crowd was generally peaceful. No arrests or injuries were reported, although a handful of individuals were ejected by the police from the auditorium, including one young man who didn’t have a chance to collect his coat before being escorted out. Another man complained that he was ejected for having a pocketknife after being frisked inside the library. He commented that he would have given it to someone to hold for him, if he’d only known it wasn’t allowed inside. Signs which indicated the rules were posted, but the size of the crowd may have obscured the rules, which were hung on the sides of the perimeter fence. Rules restricting any cellphones or cameras, except for the press, were denounced by many as being overly restrictive, although eventually groups were allowed one camera amongst them inside.

More coverage on the U-C IMC website soon and on Monday’s U-C IMC Newshour.



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