A small group of people gathered at a park in Savage Saturday to show their support for the Confederate battle flag.
They had planned to convene at the State Capitol building in St. Paul, but moved it to another location because they said they feared it would attract a protest from the Black Lives Matter group, organizer BC Johnson told KSTP.
Since the killing of nine bible study members at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June, the flag – which has come to represent the ill-fated southern war effort in the U.S. Civil War – has found itself at the center of a debate about racism in America.
Dylann Roof, the man charged with perpetrating the deadly church shooting, had appeared in pictures posing with the controversial flag, and the ensuring debate culminated in the permanent removal of the flag from South Carolina’s Capitol grounds.
Johnson, a native of South Carolina, said recent vilification of the Confederate battle flag is inappropriate. He and the half dozen other members of the group calling itself the Minnesota 10,000 for Southern Heritage said the flag is a symbol of states' rights.
“We do not support hate. We do not support bigotry," Johnson said, according to WCCO. "And we definitely don’t support Dylann Roof and the actions he took in South Carolina.”
City Pages has a profile of Johnson, which you can find here.
A group of counter-protesters showed up at the Capitol anyway, WCCO said.
Twin Cities Industrial Workers of the World rallied in St. Paul to protest the flag and white supremacy.
“If you wear the Confederate flag on your truck, your body, anywhere, you are sending the message that you are essentially a racist,” said one protester.