CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Uplift Charleston held a peaceful protest Sunday morning along Charleston’s Battery to mark the loss of nine Charleston church members killed in a 2015 shooting.
Protesters lined up along the Battery wall across from White Point Gardens and a statue dedicated to the Confederate Defenders of Charleston. Counterprotesters gathered to wave Confederate flags and show their support for the statue.
At points during the hours-long event, witnesses reported tense moments as the two groups shouted back and forth at each other.
Sunday morning’s protest, according to Uplift Charleston’s Facebook page, was meant to honor those killed in the June 17, 2015, massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church.
The shooting claimed the lives of the church’s pastor and eight parishioners:
- State Sen. and the Rev. Clementa Pinckney
- Cynthia Graham Hurd
- Susie Jackson
- Tywanza Sanders
- Ethel Lance
- The Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
- The Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr.
- The Rev. Sharonda Singleton
- The Rev. Myra Thompson
The group’s post said the victims of the church shooting "lost their lives to white supremacy.”
White supremacist Dylann Roof was sentenced to death after his conviction on 33 federal charges related to the massacre.
Roof is the first person to be capitally prosecuted under the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The last federal death sentence handed down was for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015.
Roof is currently on death row at the penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he is appealing his convictions and death sentence.
Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the killings.