Tuesday, August 18, 2015

At least 22 states, mostly in South, have had Confederate flag rallies since Charleston shootings

Since June 17 when nine African Americans were killed in a historic Charleston, S.C., church and a white suspect with ties to hate crimes was arrested for the murders, many lawmakers—including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley—have called for the removal of Confederate flags from government buildings. While many flags have been taken down, not everyone sees the flag as a symbol of hatred and racism, as evidenced by the 173 reported rallies and protests in support of the flag—mostly in the South—that have taken place since the shootings, Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post.

Those 173 rallies and protests—in just 62 days since the shootings—were attended by about 23,000 people, according to data from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Ingraham writes. About 5,000 people attended a July rally in Ocala, Fla., where there were reports of gunfire, and another 4,000 attended a North Carolina rally. Also, 2,000 went to a KKK rally in Charleston.

Overall, 22 states have had rallies, led by Virginia with 23. Texas is second at 19, Alabama has had 17 and Georgia and Florida have had 16 each, Ingraham writes. "A common refrain of Confederate flag supporters is that the flag is about heritage, not hate. But historians of the South, as well as political scientists who study the motivations of people who wave the flag, generally dispute this claim. And a number of rallies tracked by the SPLC include the involvement of known hate groups, like the Klan, the Aryan Nations and the League of the South." (Post map)

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