Today in labor history: Rally in support of Charleston Five

On this day in history in 2001, 5,000 demonstrators rallied at the State Capitol in Columbia, South Carolina in support of the Charleston Five.

The Charleston Five were labor activists; they were longshoremen and union members of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422. While protesting a freight company’s use of non-union workers, a fight broke out between they and police officers, who fired gas shells and charged an armored vehicle at the longshoremen.

The Five, along with four others, were arrested. After worldwide protest and international worker solidarity, the Charleston Five were freed in November 2001.

Photo: The Charleston Five.