Board of aldermen meeting gets heated over state flag debate

Board of aldermen meeting gets heated over state flag debate
The state flag flying over Ocean Springs City Hall has been put up and taken back down more than twice since Shea Dobson was elected (Source: WLOX)
The state flag flying over Ocean Springs City Hall has been put up and taken back down more than twice since Shea Dobson was elected (Source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The state flag flying over Ocean Springs remains a source of contention for some South Mississippi residents.

Protesters marched silently through the streets downtown Tuesday evening to City Hall where they asked Mayor Shea Dobson and his board of alderman to take the flag down again at the city board meeting.

Several people took turns speaking at the podium, giving reasons why the state flag bearing a Confederate battle emblem, does not reflect the progressive atmosphere of Ocean Springs.

Some protesters even called out city leaders for promoting a racist and exclusive living environment.

"The Ocean Springs that we once knew and loved has been transformed into a cold and uncaring breeding ground for far-right racists," said Curley Clark, the Jackson County NAACP president. "Black people be warned! Brown people be warned! LGBT people be warned! Jewish faith brethren be warned!"

The outcry caused Mayor Dobson to raise his voice, banging his gavel for Clark to stop speaking since his allotted three minutes were over.

After Clark left, other people used their time to let it be known that even though they don't want to see the flag being flown in their city anymore, they were more disappointed and ashamed at the way the mayor handled the situation.

After the meeting, the mayor had some time to collect himself and says this is how he normally handles things when someone goes over the time limit and that his shouting was not intentionally hostile.

"You know, it's my job to make sure the meeting gets carried out efficiently. It's my job to make sure the meeting is in order," said the mayor. "What we can't tolerate is folks thinking they can go above and beyond their time, especially when they're asked to step aside and their time is up."

In response to Mayor Dobson's outburst at the meeting, TNathan Fairley with the Mississippi Rising Coalition is now calling for a public boycott of the city of Ocean Springs.

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