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Klan Leader Promises to Return after Rally, Protests

October 4, 1987 GMT

EPHRATA, Pa. (AP) _ The Ku Klux Klan will return, a leader of the white supremacist group promised after a rally brought out more opponents than supporters and prompted six arrests in rural eastern Pennsylvania.

Klan Imperial Wizard James W. Farrands of Shelton, Conn., said his group signed up 22 new members after Klansmen burned a 15-foot cross Saturday night in rural Ephrata Township.

″I am a racist. I am proud of it,″ Farrands said to the rallying Klansmen. ″I believe in the white race. I am white. I am lily white.″

Some of the Ku Klux Klansmen wore their traditional white hooded garb while others dressed in combat fatigues.

About 300 counter-demonstrators and spectators also arrived at the rally. Six of the counter-demonstrators were arrested on disorderly conduct and other charges.

Later Saturday night, more than 600 people turned out for an anti-Klan rally in nearby Lancaster and 300 more demonstrated in Ephrata.

Despite the protests, Farrands said the Klan almost certainly will return to the area for future rallies.

The rally ″went exactly as I intended it to go,″ said Alexander H. Lithgow, a feed supplement salesman and Klansman who hosted the group.

Before the rally began, protesters and Klansmen exchanged taunts outside Lithgow’s home. Protesters shouted, ″Go away KKK 3/8″ and carried signs with slogans promoting racial harmony.

Klansmen yelled, ″KKK for USA 3/8″

A contingent of police, some in riot gear, controlled the crowds.

Farrands and Klan leaders from Pennsylvania and Maryland decried blacks, homosexuals, and other groups in their speeches Saturday night. Farrands also opposed public programs such as welfare, aid to dependent children and student loans.

He claimed the Klan is ″the most powerful fraternal organization″ and said it is the only group ″that fights for the rights of white people.″

For the cross-lighting ritual, robed Klansmen carrying torches circled the 15-foot cross, which had been wrapped in burlap and soaked with kerosene.

″Behold, the cross 3/8″ shouted a Klansman. ″It shall burn bright 3/8″

Later that night, demonstrators protested the Klan’s appearance in the area.

″This county stands for a whole lot more than the Klan stands for,″ Louis A. Butcher, Jr., executive director of the Lancaster City-County Human Relations Commission told over 600 people who huddled against the cold in Lancaster Square.

″We would like to laugh at the Klan, as if it were a joke,″ said Barry Snowden, diretor of the Lancaster County Council of Churches. ″But there’s a truly tragic dimension to what is happening there - beside the fathers and mothers at Klan rallies are small children.″

At the Community Park of Ephrata, about 300 people, carrying candles and singing songs, gathered to promote unity and peace.

The Klan rally surprised this small, quiet community of about 5,000 people, located about nine miles outside of Lancaster, a city of about 55,000 people, said Police Chief Richard L. Mull.

″I was shocked, especially a community of this size,″ said Mull. ″It’s a quiet community. It’s a religious type of community.″