Protest planned against MS state flag in Ocean Springs

Protest planned against MS state flag in Ocean Springs

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Protesters will take to the streets of Ocean Springs on Tuesday to march against the city's decision to fly the Mississippi state flag over all municipal properties.

The march comes two weeks after Ocean Springs aldermen voted 6-1 to approve an ordinance amendment to fly the controversial flag outside every city property.

"You're going against the rights of minority citizens who feel like that flag portrays hate. And we feel like its very divisive and it shouldn't be flown," said Curley Clark, president of the Jackson County NAACP.

The organization, along with the Mississippi Rising Coalition, want to see a now quiet space filled with the voices of protesters Tuesday afternoon. Clark said they'll be speaking out against what he calls an act of white supremacy.

"Now that the board has taken the position it has taken, it's going to take some organizations that have a national following, to hopefully make sure that the voices of the minorities are heard," he said.

At the heart of the fight is the Confederate emblem in the corner of the Mississippi state flag. While some say it's a symbol of history, others say it's the reason the flag needs to come down.

"It's far enough in the past where we can forget it because it's part of our history. So yeah, they can take it down," said Timothy Carter.

"I think it is a part of history, but I think it's an offensive part of history. And I don't agree with what it portrays and what it conveys to others," said Michelle Seigerman.

Clark said it's that message he hopes the march will send to not only Ocean Springs elected officials, but also to others across the country.

"We have to address this to let the powers that be know that the minority community, the NAACP and other groups are not going to sit by idly to have this type of legislation put into practice in these various cities if they so choose," he said.

The march will begin at 5pm at Marshall Park and will end at Ocean Springs City Hall. Organizers are asking participants to use #OSUnitedAgainstWhiteSupremacy on social media.

Organizers said this will be a legal, peaceful exercise and if counter-demonstrators are present, they will not interact with them.

According to a Facebook post from Mississippi Rising Coalition, there will be several American Civil Liberties Union-trained legal observers on hand to record and report any improper or unlawful behavior.

The state flag debate in Ocean Springs reached a fever pitch when Mayor Shea Dobson ordered city workers to remove the flag from in front of city hall last month. He explained the decision in a Facebook post, which was met with both praise and criticism. That post has since been deleted.

Decision to remove MS flag from OS City Hall draws strong response

Aldermen voted to restore the flag to city properties five days after Dobson ordered it removed.

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