CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - National Action Network leaders are sending a warning to those thinking about coming to Charleston with a divisive message.
"We will not stand back and allow hate to be spread around Charleston," said Elder James Johnson.
Wednesday, the group held a news conference at Marion Square. It was called specifically to address a hateful message Malik Shabazz, President of Black Lawyers for Justice,
was promoting in the square the night before.
Shabazz was accompanied by members from The New Black Panther Party, many who aren't even from our area. They spoke to a crowd of about 100 people around 7 p.m. Tuesday.
They urged African Americans in our community to stop uniting with whites and to seek justice by taking up arms.
National Action Network countered Shabazz's message by insisting that violence is not the solution.
"That's exactly what he wanted. Why would we, as logical thinking people, African Americans in particular, think that giving Dylan Roof what he wanted is the right way to do this?" said Pastor Thomas Dixon.
Local leaders say they just will not tolerate groups who try to stir up problems or form a rift between Charleston residents.
"We are asking them to please leave Charleston with that hate. We are united, black and white, in the City of Charleston to get over this and to bring solidarity and unity to Charleston," said Johnson.
NAN also discussed the threat of protesters planning to disrupt the the Mother Emanuel funerals and memorials.
They're in full support of a human barrier that locals plan to create at Rev. Pinckney's funeral on Friday, if protesters show up.
"That's the unity of Charleston," said Johnson. "It's respecting Mr. Pinckney. Any disrespect to that family or the nine that got killed, we don't need them in Charleston."
State representative Wendell Gilliard also says he applauds the emergency ordinance that Charleston City Council passed Tuesday. That's been viewed as another attempt to ban the protests from getting within 300 feet of the funeral.