Harrison County

Biloxi Council divided on flag issue as protest spills into meeting

Biloxi Council divided on Mississippi flag

Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich stands by his decision to take down Mississippi's flag but some council members disagree. Video by Mary Perez/Sun Herald meperez@sunherald.com
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Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich stands by his decision to take down Mississippi's flag but some council members disagree. Video by Mary Perez/Sun Herald meperez@sunherald.com

About a dozen people, some waving Confederate and state flags, gathered outside City Hall to protest the mayor’s order to take down the state flag, and then took their complaints inside the City Council meeting.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich stood behind the decision he’d made Monday, which was Confederate Memorial Day.

But most of the council members said they disagreed with that decision and Councilman Robert Deming III said he will introduce a resolution at the next council meeting in May to require the city to fly the state flag.

Kenny Glavan said he thinks the state flag should be flown, but he would support changing the flag.

James Crowell, president of the Biloxi NAACP, thanked Gilich “for being brave enough to do the right thing,” and said he was taken aback by some of the council members’ statements.

Public comments were divided between those who say the flag was approved by a voter referendum and those who said it is offensive.

“To pick the flag out, you’re just creating more division in your own city,” Carol Mize, who organized the protest, told Gilich.

She asked before the meeting why the decision on the flag was up to Gilich.

The flag issue is controversial, she said, but so are spring break events and issues like open container laws. She said the hate is in people’s hearts, not on the flag.

The mayor’s office had 68 calls on Monday and Tuesday, most of them against his ordering the flags removed.

“In my humble opinion this was the right thing to do for Biloxi he said after Tuesday’s meeting

Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel explains Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich's order that all city facilities should fly the United State's flag exclusively, not the state or city flag. Gilich learned of the inconsistencies on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at an NAACP and League of Women Voters forum for political candidates. Editor's note: In the video, Vincent Creel says 7.5 million people visit Biloxi each year. That number should be 5.7 million. Video by Amanda McCoy/Sun Herald

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