Local News

Confederate flag supporters kept outside Capitol grounds during celebration

Posted January 16, 2016 6:11 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2016 6:32 p.m. EST

— Confederate flag supporters from across the state gathered at the State Capitol Saturday to honor Confederate General Robert E. Lee, but were told they couldn't demonstrate on Capitol grounds.

Police kept the flag flyers on the edge of Capitol property, and said they could not bring their flags inside for Lee’s birthday celebration, hosted by the Sons of the Confederate veterans.

“The reason I’m here is because I love this country,” Michael Karachun said. “And what’s being said in the press is total lies about the flag.”

The Confederate flags outside the Capitol—and the ceremony inside—might appear discordant with a weekend of events honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, but keynote speaker, Teresa Roane—an African-American archivist for the Daughters of the Confederacy—suggested that both Lee and King should be honored.

“He’s as important as Martin Luther King, so why can’t we honor both?” Roane said. "I know there are people who don't want to admit that, but it's definitely true."

The flag supporters were confined to the sidewalk on Saturday because of a permitting issue, police said. Any group that wants to demonstrate on Capitol grounds is required to get a permit first.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Henry Shaw said. “It just encourage people to stay happy, stay humble and remember what MLK said—‘We all love each other.’”