Protesters Demand Return of Rebel Flag

COLUMBIA, S.C. (CN) – A small group of protesters braved 95-degree heat outside the statehouse last weekend to demand that the Confederate battle flag be returned to the top of South Carolina’s Capitol dome. They want a statewide referendum on it.

     William Carter, chairman of the S.C. Conservative Action Council, sponsors of Saturday’s Confederate Battle Flag Preservation Rally, said his group wants a statewide vote on the flag, which lawmakers voted to remove from the dome in 2000.
     The rebel flag still flies at the Statehouse, at a special memorial at the entrance of the grounds, and has done so since July 1, 2000.
     “We feel that it was an atrocity that the same General Assembly that sent boys out to die in 1861 was the same General Assembly that took the flag off this State House,” Carter said before delivering one of the more than a dozen speeches given at the memorial on Saturday.
     Most speakers claimed that if a statewide vote were taken, a majority would vote to see the flag reinstated.
     About 100 people attended the afternoon-long rally, many wearing bandanas, vests and other articles of clothing bearing the stars and bars emblazoned across a red background.
     Carter said he wasn’t disappointed in the turnout because the movement is just getting started. He said he expects a bigger crowd next year at what he hopes will become an annual event.

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