MAGNOLIA, MS – The Mississippi state flag, which includes the Confederate symbol, was at the heart of a heated rally today in Magnolia, MS.

City leaders voted to take the state flag down last week and that decision brought people from across the state to the small town to protest.

The demonstrators say this is the first of many times they plan to meet. They say the mayor acted illegally by removing the flag,  but city leaders say that’s not the case.

One protestor says, “I am tired of our rights being taken away.”

Hollywood Actress Aunjanee Ellis got into a heated debate with one of the demonstrators. She said,

“The fact of the matter is, the state of Mississippi shares a flag with an organization that bombed my grandfather’s church. That’s what I’m saying about educate. You need to get educated. This is an opportunity for us to say you know, we are more than that flag. I was raised in the Baptist church. I was taught against idolatry. Putting things ahead of God. we’re making that flag more important than the God that we serve, and we shouldn’t do that.”

This week, Mayor Anthony Witherspoon led a decision to take the banner down. Some are calling it brave, while others say it’s a slap in the face. But the Mayor says he stands by the decision. He says,

“There is no state statute that mandates that municipalities display the state flag, or any other flag for that matter. The city has an almost 70 percent population who oppose the flying of any flag baring the confederate emblem.”

The shooting in Charleston South Carolina influenced the move. Supporters of leaving the flag as is, argue that the killers actions are not are reflection of what the state’s flag means.

Protestor, Rebecca McGehee, says,

“I came here today in support of our flag and our country. We are so divided. America has lost her way because we turned from God.”

Organizers told WJTV news that it was very important to them that this be a peaceful rally. We’re told they will continue meeting until the state flag is flying in Magnolia again.