EASTMAN, Ga. — As the call to remove Confederate monuments across the country grows, protesters on both sides made their voices heard in Eastman on Tuesday.
Dozens gathered outside the Dodge County courthouse to demand the removal of the Confederate flag and monument in the parking lot.
“We say take the monument and take the flag. It belongs to you. Put it on your own land. Put it on your front porch. Whatever you do, get it from out of the Dodge County courthouse square,” said Michael Holiday.
The plaque on the monument says it's been there since 1910 and erected by the Fannie Gordon Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
To the protesters, it symbolizes hate and oppression.
“It's a symbol of hate, it's a symbol of oppression -- take it down,” said Matthew Reis.
To others, it represents something else.
“I think they ought to put it to a vote. If they vote to move it, move it. If they can't move it that way, let it stand there. 14 of my folks fought in it for the South and the Civil War. Seven got killed, four got wounded and three came marching home,” said a bystander at the protest.
“I know that slavery is a very important part of what was the basis for the Civil War, so I've always felt a little iffy about it, but I've got a voice and I need to speak,” said protester Quint Bush. “That's why I came out today to support everyone here today who wants to see a change. To have the flag removed and to have the monument moved to some better place than public ground like this.”
Protesters did not have a specific place they’d like to see the memorial moved to and they said they would continue showing up by it until a change is made.
Last year, Georgia legislators passed a bill making it more difficult to remove or replace monuments, and requiring them to be placed somewhere of similar prominence.
A new house bill introduced last week would ban Confederate monuments from public property, except in Civil War battlefields and museums.