Pro-flag demonstration in Valdosta attracts more than a thousand
A demonstration in Valdosta, Georgia in support of the American flag went off without incident on Friday, as people marched and rode to counter students at Valdosta State University who trampled on the flag last week.
The anti-flag protest went viral when an Air Force veteran, Michelle Manhart, tried to rescue the flag and was detained by police.
The response was dubbed "Flags Over VSU" and drew hundreds of motorcyclists and more than 1,000 people.
The Flags Over VSU rally, with hundreds of motorcycles and about 1,000 people participating, went largely without incident Friday, and Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said he was thankful for the peaceful demonstration through the city that concluded at Valdosta State University.
“I want to thank a lot of folks, because this was a peaceful event, as it should have been,” Childress said.
Childress thanked the law enforcement agencies that handled the event.
“I am very proud of law enforcement officers with the Valdosta Police Department, VSU, Georgia State Patrol, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the Georgia State Probation office, agents with the FBI and the Moody Air Force Office of Special Investigation,” Childress said. “They showed great professionalism, great restraint, and really made law enforcement shine today.”
More than 100 law enforcement officers were on hand for Friday’s rally.
“We had a briefing this morning. We were following the dictation of President Bill McKinney, because it’s his university, and we did this the way it should be done.”
Childress expressed hope that Valdosta could be seen as an example nationwide.
“I hope this demonstrates across the country that you can protest and you can rally, and you can control it and not let it get out of hand,” Childress said. “I think that’s what these folks, not me, did today. They demonstrated they can do this.”
Childress said that law enforcement officials reached out to those who filed the permit to rally, and the protesters were able to set up a game plan for what to do.
A side note: the student protestor identified as the flag desecrater is on the run. He is wanted for gun violations and is considered "armed and dangerous."
The hippies didn't show their faces during the demonstration, as the university president canceled classes for the day. But it was certainly heartening to see peaceful protestors celebrating what the flag stands for.