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Minn. Group Rallies Around Confederate Flag, Sparks Counter Protest

SAVAGE, Minn. (WCCO) -- A Minnesota group says they are rallying in support of the Confederate flag.

"Not one time did this flag come off that pole and cause any of these catastrophes to happen," said organizer BC Johnson.

Members of the group "Minnesota Ten Thousand for Southern Heritage" gathered at Savage Community Park on Saturday morning.

They say they are rallying because the flag is being misrepresented.

A native of South Carolina, Johnson said he's upset that states have taken down the Confederate flag.

And he's found other Minnesotans who feel the same way.

"We do not support hate. We do not support bigotry. And we definitely don't support Dylan Roof and the actions he took in South Carolina," Johnson said.

What the group does support is a state's individual rights, which is what they believe the flag stands for.

The rally was supposed to be at the State Capitol, but Johnson said he moved the event when he heard a counter rally was taking place there. He said he's disappointed Black Lives Matter and other groups protested outside the State Fair.

"I think it's despicable that you take an opportunity to invade public events. Just for attention and to terrorize people," Johnson said.

But while Johnson's group was celebrating the Confederate flag's history, another group was burning it.

"We came down here to prevent some racist folk from coming down to the State Capitol and showing their Confederate flag colors," said Dee, a member of a group called Twin Cities Industrial Workers of the World.

IWW held a counter rally and march in St. Paul. They said their purpose is to unite against white supremacy and the Confederate flag.

"If you wear the Confederate flag on your truck, your body, anywhere, you are sending the message that you are essentially a racist," Dee said.

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