Thousands Rally To Support Confederate Flag In Florida

OCALA, Fla. (AP) _ Thousands of people have rallied in central Florida in support of flying the Confederate flag.

Police estimated 2,000 vehicles, mostly motorcycles and trucks adorned with the Civil War-era flag, took part in Sunday’s gathering in Ocala. The event was being held to back a decision by Marion County to return the Confederate flag to a display outside its government complex.

The Ocala Star-Banner reports participants wore shirts with phrases including “heritage not hate” and talked of defending Southern traditions as the flag’s symbolism is widely debated.

South Carolina removed a Confederate battle flag Friday that flew near its Statehouse, weeks after nine shooting deaths at a historically black church there. Police have charged a man shown in pictures with a Confederate flag, who they say was motivated by hate.