Aiken County, SC – A local group is riding to support the Confederate flag.
More than 50 people met in Clearwater, South Carolina sporting Confederate flag merchandise. The group rode through downtown Aiken in what they call a peaceful protest.
The group, which calls itself the “Confederate Riders”, was formed shortly after talks about removing the Confederate flag at the South Carolina Statehouse started.
Members of the group say they feel the removal of the flag was harsh and unfair, and it should have been decided by the people of South Carolina.
“Some of these people feel like their voices aren’t getting heard, that things are being done in the governments without asking the people for votes,” Randy Powell said.
Randy Powell and Michael Albert started the Confederate Riders, because they felt their historical symbol was being attacked.
“It’s heritage, not hate and that’s what we’re bringing here to the table, and that’s what we want people to see is that,” Albert said.
Albert says he can’t tell other people what to believe, but he hopes to change some people’s perspective on the Confederate flag.
“It’s not about racism, it’s not about people thinking it is what it is from the past. It’s about coming together and like I said, being united, it’s not a race thing, we all bleed red,” Albert continued.
The group handed out shirts and said a quick prayer for safety before hitting the road to downtown Aiken.
“We just kind of want everybody who wants to show their support for their southern heritage to be able to get some people together without being attacked or violated and let them show their pride off,” Powell explained.
At the end of the day Albert and Powell called the event a success.
Albert says this won’t be the last rally the group has.
He hopes to put on many more fundraisers and peaceful protests in the future.