Scuffles broke out at the South Carolina State House on Saturday after several dozen Ku Klux Klan members protesting the removal of the Confederate flag came face to face with African-American activists demonstrating nearby.
Police in Columbia made several arrests, but there were no reports of injuries as protesters from both sides taunted and yelled at each other.
Authorities said the counterprotesters, described as a group of black educators, gathered to highlight what they contend is ongoing racial inequality that organizer James Evans Muhammad said continues despite the removal of the controversial flag earlier this month.
Members of the Ku Klux Klan yell as they fly Confederate flags during a rally at the South Carolina State House in Columbia, July 18, 2015.
Police escorted the outnumbered white supremacist Klan members from the grounds of the capitol, as others dispersed.
The Confederate flag, viewed by opponents as a historic symbol of racial hatred toward blacks, was removed from the capitol grounds in response to last month's killings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston. Photos surfaced of Dylann Roof, 21, a white man charged in the shootings, posing with the Confederate flag on a website that also displayed a racist manifesto.
President Barack Obama called the removal of the flag, which was mandated by state lawmakers, a gesture of goodwill and racial healing.