OKLAHOMA CITY — President Obama was greeted by protesters waving the Confederate flag during his visit to Oklahoma.
About nine or 10 protesters waved the Confederate battle flag, as well as an American flag, across the street from the hotel where Obama is staying here, standing among a larger group that included Obama supporters. A Confederate flag rally was also held in Durant, Okla., where Obama unveiled a pilot program to bring high-speed broadband to low-income people in public housing at the Choctaw Nation. The president is visiting a federal prison Thursday, part of a week-long focus on criminal justice issues.
The protests come a week after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds there. The push to remove the flag came after nine people were killed in a historic black church in Charleston. The alleged gunman, Dylann Roof, 21, had posed for numerous photos with the flag and authorities said he left a racist manifesto on his Web site.
Obama praised South Carolina for removing the flag.
South Carolina taking down the confederate flag — a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future.
— President Obama (@POTUS) July 10, 2015
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called last week for a review of Confederate symbols and memorabilia, which is likely to include those at the Capitol. He was forced to stop consideration of a funding bill after it became entwined with a battle over the flag.
"We don't believe it's a symbol of racism," Andrew Duncomb, who calls himself "the black rebel," told KFOR news. Duncomb, who is black, organized the Wednesday protest here in Oklahoma City, according to the news station. He was involved with another protest at the Oklahoma capitol last weekend.
“We’re not gonna stand down from our heritage. You know, this flag’s not racist. And I know a lot of people think it is, but it’s really not,” Trey Johnson, who was protesting in Durant, told KFOR. “It’s just a southern thing, that’s it.”
Obama was also greeted by protesters waving the Confederate flag when he visited Tennessee earlier this month.