Local socialists and state flaggers push for change
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A Democratic Socialist group took to the streets of Hattiesburg Sunday in response to the deadly violence from the White Nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Demonstrations in front of the University of Southern Mississippi campus involved state flag and Southern Democratic Socialists supporters sharing the same territory.
“Ninety four weeks in a row, not on any of those Sundays has there been trouble from the people who are supporting the Mississippi State Flag and the fact that it should be flown,” Deborah Simpson, a state flag supporter, shared over the phone during an interview.
For over a year and half state flag supporters have protested outside the USM campus' gate on Hardy street.
“We all need to stand in solidarity as an inclusive community against acts of racism and white supremacy that’s on the rise as we saw in Charlottesville," Annabeth Rowe, Democratic Socialist organizer, said. "It was important for us to stand up as a community and say that Black Lives Matter in a time when our state is still flying this flag,”
Mississippi Flag Supporters say they will continue to raise awareness of the state flag's removal from public state property.
“Were out there on Sundays because the state flag was taken off of public property and it should have not been taken off of public property," Simpson shared. "...especially since that public property gets state funds, and because they get state funds they should fly the state flag.”
However, past protest have not been so peaceful, when Rowe said she had to mace one flag supporter weeks ago. “All I knew is that a man was coming at me, talking about how he was gonna teach me a lesson, he had his hands up," Rowe stated. "I asked him several times to back off, I did…and the pepper spray that I decided to use on him was purely in self-defense. I felt threaten, I felt that my life was in danger,”
Hattiesburg and University Police say they will continue to monitor all protest to ensure the safety of all citizens.