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Sunday, June 28, 1998 Published at 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK

World: Americas

KKK march in Jasper

The KKK protest , purporting to be against the murder

Members of the white supremacist organisation the Ku Klux Klan staged a demonstration in the Texan town of Jasper on Saturday.

The rally came three weeks after James Byrd, a black resident of the town, was dragged to death behind a pick-up truck in what appeared to be a racially motivated attack.

The BBC's Tom Carver reports on the march in Jasper
Three white men, who the police say are linked to the KKK, have been charged with the murder.

Although the KKK had said the purpose of the rally was to protest against the murder, BBC correspondent Tom Carver reports that racist slogans such as "to hell with the blacks" were heard.

[ image: KKK members were outnumbered by reporters]
KKK members were outnumbered by reporters
At one point police intervened to prevent violence between Klan members and activists of the Black Panthers group, who had carried unloaded shotguns at Mr Byrd's funeral. This time they were disarmed by police.

The Jasper local radio station has been appealing to blacks and whites alike to show their dislike for the Ku Klux Klan by not turning up to the rally. Our correspondent reports that KKK members were outnumbered by reporters.

The brutality of Mr Byrd's murder earlier this month shocked the United States. Mr Byrd, 49, who was physically handicapped, was hitching a lift home from a family party when he was apparently abducted by the people who gave him a lift.

According to police reports, Mr Byrd was driven to a remote spot where he was beaten and then chained to the back of the truck. He was dragged for 3km with such violence that he was decapitated and his right arm was severed.

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