The South Carolina Secessionist Party plans to raise the Confederate flag over the State House one year after it was removed following the Charleston shooting. The Facebook page for the event says it will be held on July 10. That date is the anniversary of the flag’s removal after Dylann Roof killed nine Black people at a local church. The self-proclaimed grass-roots organization is dedicated to “returning honor integrity and tradition to South Carolina,” according to their Facebook page.
The State reports the flag will only temporarily return to the South Carolina State House during the four-hour event.
The group’s founder James Bessenger told the publication in March that he hopes the flag-raising celebration will be held each year, claiming “We do it to honor those who left their homes, left their families, stood on bloody battlefields and sacrificed their lives for the sake of the people of South Carolina.”
Lawmakers said they don’t have a reason to prevent the 2,100 member Secessionist Party from raising the Confederate flag, which had been raised over the State House for five decades before being banished.
“I wish they wouldn’t, but that’s the country that we live in,” Republican Senator Chip Campsen said to The State in March. He was one of the members of the state Senate who voted to remove the flag.
Democratic House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, added, “This defies logical and common sense. But we don’t regulate crazy.”
Bessenger said that he expects protesters at the rally in July but he plans to ignore them.
Atlanta Blackstar reports Roof was indicted in the shooting that took place at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last year. A South Carolina state court charged the white supremacist with nine counts of murder. He was also charged with federal hate crimes and three attempted murder charges. Roof was had one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime charge in July 2015. He is currently awaiting trial as the death penalty is debated.