US right claims spirit of Martin Luther King at Lincoln Memorial rally

Tens of thousands descended on Washington today for one of the biggest culture clashes in decades – one that pitted an almost exclusively white crowd against one that was predominantly African-American. Both claimed the legacy of Martin Luther King.

The biggest crowd was for a rightwing rally supported by the Fox Television host and author Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Tea Party activists, who gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his “I have a dream” speech 47 years ago to the day.

Beck estimated that the crowd, the biggest show of strength by Tea Party activists this year, numbered in the hundreds of thousands, many of whom had travelled long distances. He claimed he had been unaware when he organised the rally that it coincided with the King anniversary, but insisted that the civil rights leader was an inspiration for all Americans and not any one section of the community.

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