Opposition against the Confederate flag has grown overwhelmingly across the country, but in protest southerners have been rallying across the south in support of the emblem of racism. In Florida, Tennessee, and Oklahoma, thousands of Confederate flag lovers gathered to protest the backlash against the symbol of the American Civil War and the South’s defense of slavery.
TIME listed some protests across the last few days.
In Ocala, Florida, at a rally called the Florida Southern Pride Ride, over 2,000 vehicles flew the confederate flag driven by protesters wearing shirts that read ‘Heritage, Not Hate,’ reports the Ocala Star-Banner. A 23-year old African-American called Dwayne Webb participated in the protest because he believes the Confederate flag is not about “prejudice or hate.” Additionally, WPTV reported that over a hundred Confederate flag bearers gathered Loxahatchee Groves, Florida.
Confederate flag supporters also gathered for over four hours in Knoxville, Tennessee, reports WATE. Protester Scott Hall described to WATE why he was there.
“It doesn’t matter what symbol you want to select, there are individuals who are going to use it in the wrong way,” said rally goer, Scott Hall, “The flag is not responsible.”
In Oklahoma, about 30 trucks paraded through the metro area waving the Confederate flag, reports NewsOn6. The protesters were led by Andrew Duncomb, who went by the term “black rebel.”
“This is us trying to say that we have our rights. We have a right to fly our flag and we’re not taking it down,” Duncomb told News On 6.
Duncomb elaborated further to Oklahoma City’s News 9.
“Our goal was to show that the South isn’t about racism. Everybody out here that’s flying this flag don’t believe that it’s about hate and color. They believe it’s about southern pride and heritage.”
The Confederate flag has become an object of disdain due to the horrific Charleston church shooting which took the lives of nine African Americans by a 21-year old who bore the Confederate flag upon his truck and website. This scorn led to the Confederate flag’s removal from the state capitols of Alabama and South Carolina. Additionally, numerous American businesses have decided they’ll no longer sell the Confederate flag.
Today, Inquisitr reported on a phone call by a Jewish man — who asked not to be identified — to the police about a man selling Confederate and Nazi paraphernalia at a flea market in Wallingford, Connecticut. The Wallingford police were unable to do anything about the sale of the racist memorabilia because it was on private property.
[Photo via Win McNamee/Getty Images]