Ten days of tension, preparation, confusion: Weekend rally and counterprotests

Posted on Feb 23 2019 - 3:50pm by Hadley Hitson

Pro-Confederate groups Confederate 901 and the Hiwaymen marched on campus today after more than a week of preparation and counterprotests by many in the university community.

Read our coverage of the past week’s major developments and statements leading up to today’s events.

The university and University Police Department released their first statements on Feb. 13 to notify students and employees of the outside groups planning to protest the removal of Confederate symbols on campus. Members of these groups participated in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left three dead and 35 injured.

Several days later, senior marketing major Will Pipes organized a counterrally to be held in the Circle at the same time as the Mississippi Stands Rally. The protest was ultimately canceled because of concerns about safety and inclement weather.

On Wednesday evening, the university held a public forum to field questions from community members regarding the weekend’s events and the university’s recently updated weapons policy.

Student minority groups also held a Black History Month March on Thursday in dissent of the Confederate statue on campus. While the demonstration had been planned prior to the announcement of the pro-Confederate rally, several participants said their purpose took on a stronger meaning ahead of the Mississippi Stands Rally.  

On Thursday night, Confederate 901 leader Billy Sessions made a statement in a Facebook post saying members of his group planned to attend the Students Against Social Injustice protest that was held on campus Friday. However, no counterprotesters ever arrived to the SASI event.

Many students have decided to go home for the weekend in order to avoid the protests.

Today, Confederate groups marched from the Square to the Circle and were met by counterprotesters.


Check out our full coverage of the weekend protests here.