Jackson County

State flag opponents will be at City Hall even if weather washes out march

Ocean Springs aldermen attracted another crowd at City Hall at last month’s meeting as they let the city know they intend to support raising the state flag at all government buildings.
Ocean Springs aldermen attracted another crowd at City Hall at last month’s meeting as they let the city know they intend to support raising the state flag at all government buildings. klnelson@sunherald.com File

The Ocean Springs police chief said he doesn’t anticipate any problems when a coalition of state flag opponents march through downtown Ocean Springs on Tuesday.

Chief Mark Dunston said the group doesn’t need a permit because the marchers will be going down the sidewalk from Marshall Park to the City Hall.

“This is a peaceful exercise of our First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly,” says a flier put out by #OSUnitedAgainstWhiteSupremacy. “Legal observers will be present to document our action.”

So will two police officers, Dunston said.

“I’ll probably have a couple of officers because there will be a large crowd crossing that crosswalk,” Dunston said. “But looking at the weather there is supposed to a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms, so who knows? We’re just there to keep them walking and keep traffic under control.”

Organizers said if the weather is bad, they’ll reschedule the march but they’ll go to the Board of Aldermen meeting at 6 p.m. regardless of weather.

The activist group Mississippi Rising and other opponents of the state flag have been trying to get Mayor Shea Dobson to stop flying the flag, which has the Confederate battle emblem in its canton, over city buildings. He took the flag down briefly but the Board of Aldermen later ordered it flown.

Some flag supporters said they will be on the march route as well, a march organizer said. As of about 2 p.m. Monday, 51 people on the Facebook event page have said they are going to the march beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton

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