Rally held in downtown Charleston to remove John C. Calhoun statue

Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A rally was held in downtown Charleston Wednesday afternoon to remove the John C. Calhoun statue.

The Democratic Socialists of America, who organized the event, said the goal is to get the Heritage Act repealed.

"The purpose today is to call for the repeal of the South Carolina Heritage Act which makes it hard for local cities and municipalities to really consider taking down these confederate memorials," said Megan Summers with Charleston DSA.

The Heritage Act is a law that protects any state monument marker or memorial from being removed without legislative approval.

Those rallying Wednesday to bring the flag down changed "Take it down" and said the John C. Calhoun statue had stood in Marion Square for the wrong reason.

"Because of all of this work he did for slavery. Because of all of his work he did to keep the institution going. That is exactly why he's up on that statue. We're about to be done with that," said John White who supports removing the statue.

Calhoun was a statesman, the seventh vice president of the United States and a supporter of slavery.

The rally was peaceful, and did not have counter-protesters.

But members of the Secessionist Party were in attendance on the outside of the crowd, but did not interfere with the rally.

"We came out for the specific purpose of making sure our members didn't show up and cause problems," said James Bessinger with the South Carolina Secessionist Party."These protesters have as much right as anybody else to have their voice heard and express their opinion."

On Tuesday, Bessinger and Johnathan Thrower with the Black Nationalist Movement came together to try and promote peace over violence in the Holy City.

Both men stood together again on Wednesday, holding true to the deal they made one day prior.

"I want to see the statue come down, but we want to make sure it's done in a legal fashion," Thrower said as Bessinger stood by his side agreeing people have a right to protest for that right.

"If there's a legal mechanism to bring a monument down and they want to pursue that, that's their right, that's their right it's up to us to present our side to the legislature too," Bessinger said.

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