A standoff between white power groups and anti-hate protesters erupted in violence Saturday in Georgia as police dressed in riot gear arrested activists while fending off attacks from the angry crowd.

Police arrested eight counterprotesters after they refused to take off face masks. The rally in Stone Mountain, about 20 miles from Atlanta, saw the protesters throw rocks and fireworks at police. One demonstrator reportedly sprayed a Georgia State Patrol officer with pepper spray.

The protesters said they had gathered to demonstrate against the message of hate at a supremacist rally taking place at a local county park. Roughly 300 protesters were initially turned away from police on a park road before they took to wooded trails to confront the white power groups. They chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “Hey hey, ho ho, the KKK has got to go.”

When the police again attempted to block the protesters from reaching the rally, the standout turned violent. Black Lives Matter activists reportedly emptied trash cans and threw rocks toward the barricades.

“We’re trying to get to where we can protest them,” Craig Clark told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

The police encircled the rally to create a barrier between the groups. “Do not move! Do not break my line,” shouted one police leader.

The rally marked the Confederate Memorial Day weekend, a holiday celebrated Monday in some Southern states. The event was organized and supported by various members of the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation sects and other openly white supremacist groups, according to local media reports. 

Confederate flag supporters Kim Beasley and Dwayne Jones showed up wearing T-shirts that read, “Heritage not Hate.” “We don’t believe in carrying these flags for racist reasons,” said Beasley, From Birmingham.