The Confederate battle flag was raised outside the South Carolina Statehouse again Monday, but it rose on a pole that was planted in a temporary plastic stand — not in the earth.
The ceremony was timed to mark the second anniversary of the state’s decision to remove a Civil War banner that for many white southerners was an emblem of pride — and a symbol of racism to just about everybody else. But the flag-raising was also a protest against recent moves by lawmakers in Southern cities like New Orleans and elsewhere to remove Confederate monuments from the public areas where they have stood for decades.
“They are trying to demonize and vilify our ancestors 150 years after their deaths,” South Carolina Secessionist Party president James Bessenger insisted.
His words were met with derision from the demonstrators who far outnumbered the two-dozen or so flag supporters, some of whom showed up wearing replicas of the Confederate gray uniforms of their forefathers.
“Go home, you’re not wanted here,” one protester cried out. “You lost then and you’ll lose again. Go home Confederates!”