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Stone Mountain ready for Confederate flag rally Saturday | News

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Stone Mountain ready for Confederate flag rally Saturday

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA (WXIA) – Stone Mountain Park Police said they are expecting hundreds of people to show up on Saturday for a rally in defense of the Confederate flag.


Emotions are high on both sides of the issue, but Stone Mountain Police say they are taking every precaution to make sure things do not get out of hand.

The group holding the rally contacted Stone Mountain Park Police about the event long before the latest flap involving the Confederate flag. That latest event happened on Thursday, when police say two men placed several of the Confederate battle flags on the grounds of Martin Luther King's home church, Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta.

But Stone Mountain Park Police are making it clear – the rally has nothing to do with the park itself.

"This rally is not sanction by, supported by, endorsed by anyone with the park," said John Bankhead with the Stone Mountain Park Police Department. "It's independent of the park."

According to a Facebook page announcing the event, more than 1,000 people could show up for the rally.

"They're bringing in everybody who works full time or part time to ensure the safety of the park and to make sure these people are safe in the exercise of their First Amendment rights," Bankhead said.

And while organizers have asked participants to refrain from using racial slurs and other bad behavior, extra police are being called in to monitor the area where the event will be held, and to keep the rally from escalating into something more -- given the deep divisions people harbor over whether the flag should be banned.

"I have no connection to the Confederate flag one way or the other," one park visitor said. "It doesn't matter to me, but I don't think it should be wiped out from history."

Another park visitor was a bit more adamant in her opposition. "It's like the swastika. But it's part of American heritage. As far as it going against the black people, it's not good – it should come down," she said.

There was a smaller rally against the flag last week at the park, but another one has popped up in an attempt to counter the pro-flag rally on Saturday. Police have made it clear they will not let tensions get out of hand.