Neither group had a permit for its Saturday rally in Greenville to either remove the Confederate monument on Main Street or to keep it in place, the Greenville News reported.
The civil rights group urging that Confederate monuments be removed from “the public square,” Fighting Injustice Together, announced its rally plans on Thursday but, the Sons of Confederate Veterans arrived at the monument site off North Main Street first on Saturday.
The Greenville police told rally organizers that the counter-protesters would have four hours to maintain the area around the monument. Then, the protestors would be required to switch sides of the street.
Police kept the opposing sides apart and by the end of the day, no one had been arrested.
"We're not asking that the monument be torn down," Travis Greene, president of Fighting Justice Together, told the Greenville News. "We just want it to be relocated to a different location which is at the Confederate museum."
The Confederate Monument is located in the Springwood Cemetery, an historic cemetery located at 410 N. Main St. in downtown Greenville. It was first put up in 1891. It was moved from a position of prominence in the middle of Main Street in 1922 when business development in the area “required better traffic flow,” the city of Greenville web site states.
One of the monument’s supporters said she has ancestors buried in Springwood Cemetery and to remove the monument would be highly offensive.
“Yes, we lost the war, we know that,” she told the Greenville News. “This is honoring our generals and history, to take this away is highly offensive.”
A “We the People” rally at the State House in Columbia on Thursday urged the replacement of four monuments: the Confederate soldiers’ monument on Gervais Street, and the monuments to Wade Hampton, Ben Tillman and J. Marion Sims.
Removing the statues would require changing or repealing the Heritage Act. Passed after the Confederate flag came down off the capitol dome in 2000, the Heritage Act requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to remove historical monuments.