Supporters of the Confederate battle flag protested the second anniversary of the flag’s removal from the Statehouse grounds by returning the banner, temporarily, Monday to its old perch.
A group assembled by the South Carolina Secessionist Party gathered near the Confederate Soldiers’ Memorial in front of the Capitol in Columbia on Monday. The group raised the banner on a temporary flagpole in the exact spot where the battle flag flew for 15 years after it was taken off the Statehouse dome. The event drew a about four dozen supporters and protesters.
Several speakers criticized the state for not displaying the old flag in the Confederate Relic Room and Museum as agreed in a 2015 law that removed the flag. Lawmakers have since criticized as too high a $3.6 million proposal by the museum to house the flag and renovate some of its exhibits.
Museum leaders said in a statement the flag needs to be separate of any historical collection because it is a “21st Century political artifact.”
The flag was removed from State House grounds on July 10, 2015. Its removal came after nine African-American parishioners were killed at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015. The convicted white supremacist gunman Dylann Roof had posed in pictures with the Confederate flag before the shooting. Flag supporters said Roof’s actions were not motivated by the flag itself.