Neo-Confederate activists organized on the Square and marched onto the Ole Miss campus on Saturday to protest the removal of Confederate symbols from the area. Many community members gathered along the path of the march to observe.
Laura Antonow, Director of the Office of College Programs at Ole Miss Outreach, said she thought the protest was as peaceful as anyone could have hoped for.
“I think that it’s important for these groups to see that we don’t accept this kind of ideology in our community,” Antonow said.
The two groups who planned the protest — Confederate 901 and the Hiwaymen — are neo-Confederate activists who stand against the removal of Confederate symbols in the community, specifically the two monuments that stand in the Square and in the Circle on the Ole Miss campus.
Dave Anderson is a tourist from Little Rock, Arkansas, who said he was just passing through Oxford and didn’t realize the protest was happening.
“It’s a confusing time to experience all of this,” Anderson said. “It’s also just very sad to see everyone yelling at each other on both sides.”
While Anderson said he was disheartened by the protests, they are not negatively impacting his opinion of the Oxford community as a whole.
Junior anthropology major Easton Wilson stood alongside police barricades on campus watching both the protest and counterprotest, and he thinks these protests will have a negative effect on the university.
“(The university) was doing a good job about warning us about potential danger, but, overall, the campus even letting this happen was an ignorant move on their part,” Wilson said. “I think they’re going to lose a lot of potential students for next year. I think there’s going to be a lot of students who will leave.”
The groups marched from the Square to the Ole Miss campus and rallied from approximately 2:30-3:30 p.m. The event ended without any violence or injuries, according to University Police Department Chief Ray Hawkins.
Check out our full coverage of the weekend protests here.