Activist groups protest Confederate flag, make demands for City of Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Opposing protesters continue to gather in downtown Charleston at the Battery on weekends.
On Sunday morning, activists groups from across the Lowcountry that support the Black Lives Matter movement stood in front of the Confederate Defenders Statue.
Activist groups say they want the City of Charleston to put limits on where and how people can fly the Confederate Flag in public.
They say they are taking a stand against the Confederate Flag and its supporters among other things.
Protester Jason Jones opposes the flag. He's also the Co-Founder of an activist group called Change is Coming and is creating a new organization that unites local group leaders.
"They need to revisit their history, get beyond the history they were taught in grade school and the slanted glorification of the Confederate Army and their flag," Jones said.
For the last five years, the group Flags Across the South say they've been flying Confederate flags at the statue at the battery. They disagree with those who view it as a symbol of hate.
Braxton Spivey is with the group Flags Across the South.
“That was a soldiers banner no more no less,” Spivey said. “I firmly believe this, the reason people today look at that flag the way they do is because other organization after the war picked it up and they basically disgraced the Confederate soldier’s banner.”
Activists groups including, Stand As 1, are also calling into question the City of Charleston's permitting process.
The groups say they were granted a city permit to protest in front of the statue Sunday, sending the flag supporters across the street. However, they say they believe previous permit requests were wrongfully denied.
Spivey said he had no comment in regards to their display location moving across the street from the statue.
The activist groups are also asking the city to remove or deny the display of the confederate flags on public property and to cut back on the recent increased policing in the city.
In addition, the BLM protesters said they would like the city to remove the use of ‘oversized flags,’ larger than 3x6, at events and displays.
"We do hope that our presence here will not be needed for long, we ask that our elected officials do the right thing for the city," Protester, Justin Hunt said.
Hunt is also the President of the Stand As 1 Activist Group.
Protesters say they will continue to show up at the Battery as long as the Confederate flag is flying.
City of Charleston attorney Susan Herdina released this statement:
“As the courts have made clear, flying a flag under these circumstances is constitutionally protected free speech that the city cannot ban or otherwise suppress. The city of Charleston will continue to work to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their views, are able to exercise their First Amendment rights safely.”
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