A pro-Confederate rally is happening today at the University of Mississippi, and officials are asking students to stay away from the areas where protesters will be gathering. The event is protesting the removal of Confederate statues at the university. Here is what you need to know about what’s happening and where the event will be taking place.
The Mississippi Stands rally will take place from 1-5 p.m. at The University of Mississippi, according to the Facebook event page. The event is being hosted by two groups: Confederate 901 and The Hiwaymen.
The description for the event reads:
This is an event to draw the line in the sand!!! For over a decade the administration and faculty have completely disregarded and disrespected the traditions of a once great southern university. Far to long the administration has kowtowed to the minority left leaning students and basically have done everything that they have demanded. First tradition removed was the confederate battle flag at football games, then Col. Reb, then the administration starts contextualizing historical areas on campus, then they remove the voter affirmed state flag, then they tell the band they cant play the FREAKING fight song for the university!!! Now the same group that has been crying on and on still is not satisfied. THEY ARE DEMANDING THE CONFEDRATE STATUE BE TORN DOWN!! If you are fed up with this Political Correctness BS and sick and tired of this mess happening then please join us on FEB. 23, 2019 at the monument in the groove. Its time we draw the line in the sand!!! WE WILL NOT LET ANOTHER CHAPEL HILL HAPPEN IN OUR STATE!!!!!! Confedrate & Southern History, State Flag Supporters welcome!! Enough is enough!! !!!!REMEMBER THE UNIVERSITY GRAYS!!!
People traveled from different states to attend the event. One person wrote on Facebook, “My wife and I are leaving tomorrow from Belton Missouri road tripping your way. We plan on being there to stand with you folks Saturday.”
In one video, Confederate Live noted that the event was happening “rain or shine” and that participants were not allowed to open carry under any circumstances.
These maps were shared to show exactly where the event and march is happening. The University has asked students to stay away from the area.
The University of Mississippi asked students to avoid the area of University Avenue and University Circle between 1 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 23. The groups will begin by meeting at the Square in downtown Oxford at 1 p.m., then they will march to campus at 2 p.m. heading to the Confederate monument in the Circle, WAPT noted. University Avenue will be closed to traffic west of the Grove Loop intersection and around University Circle.
Concerns about the rally were raised after one of the leaders of Confederate 901 posted messages on Facebook that included showing an ax in a video, local news source Hotty Toddy shared. The UPD said in a release: “Please know that University Police are working continuously with state and local authorities in preparation for the student march today, and the march by external groups on Saturday.”
Counter protestors are also expected to be in the area, but they must stay within designated areas in the Grove, officials said. A protest against Confederate statues also took place on Friday. The protest was led by Students Against Social Injustice, WCBI reported. This event was meant to show support for taking down statues. Jared Foster, a member of the group, told WCBI: “Our message is the same thing that we’ve been saying for the past two years regarding our campaign. SASI is here to pressure administration, to advocate for the removal and relocation of all Confederate memorabilia on this campus, as well as the implementation of a hate speech policy.” This was not technically a counter protest to Saturday’s event. Organizers said this event was not in retaliation for Saturday’s protest.
The rallies are not affiliated with Ole Miss, the Daily Journal noted. One of the main points of the rally is opposing the decision to remove Colonel Reb, the University’s former mascot.