The Confederate flag waved proudly on Alabama Capitol grounds again Saturday, as a group of nearly 1,000 gathered at the Capitol building for the “Southerns Rally” to protest the removal of Confederate flags from the Capitol grounds.
Held at the State’s Confederate War Memorial located on the north side of the Capitol, the rally was organized by the Mike Williams, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, to send a message that the flag is about pride in heritage, not racism or hate.
On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley had ordered the removal of four Confederate flags from the Capitol grounds, drawing mixed emotions from across the Yellowhammer state.
Bentley’s actions were in response to calls to remove the Confederate emblems after the massacre of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. last week. The suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, posed in photos displaying Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags, re-igniting national disapproval over the flag’s symbolism.
Saturday’s rally puts on display the growing momentum to reinstate the flag. Shortly after the removal of the flags, a Change.Org petition to reinstate the flags was started by Phillip Giddens from Gadson. Four days later the petition now has 17,500 supporters and counting (June 27, 2015: 12:33 p.m. CST).
Photos from the rally: