KNOXVILLE (WATE) — In a nearly four hour demonstration, local protesters showed their support of the Confederate flag Saturday morning. The rally started around 10 a.m at the overpass between Strawberrry Plains and Asheville Highway. Protestors expressed their frustrations over the recent controversy surrounding the flag, following the Charleston deadly shooting at a predominantly African American church that killed 9 people.
Officials say the shooter, Dylan Roof, is believed to be a white supremacist and supporter of the Confederate flag.
Protestors say the flag is just a symbol and should not be associated with hate or racism. “It doesn’t matter what symbol you want to select, there are individuals who are going to use it in the wrong way,” said rally goer, Scott Hall, “The flag is not responsible.”Related Story: East Tennesseans weigh in on South Carolina confederate flag removal
South Carolina House officials recently approved a bill to remove the flag from Capitol grounds, leading to a nationwide debate over the symbol.