Residents protest Confederate Memorial Day at Forrest Co. courthouse

Residents protest Confederate Memorial Day at Forrest Co. courthouse

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A protest against a state holiday was held Monday outside the Forrest County courthouse.

The protest was against the Confederate Memorial Day celebrated by city and county officials in both Mississippi and Alabama.

Mississippi and Alabama celebrate Confederate Memorial Day to commemorate the Southern soldiers that fought and died trying to secede from the U.S. Over 150 years after the Confederate surrender, state government offices in both states closed on Monday to pay homage.

While many states continue to observe the holiday, Mississippi and Alabama are the only two remaining state governments that recognize it. In 2015, Georgia dropped the Confederate reference in the holiday's name.

Protesters held signs on the courthouse steps to rally against the holiday.

The circuit courthouse was closed in observation of the state holiday. Also the justice courthouse and the chancery courthouse.

"This is another passive aggressive attempt at our state to try and put people in their place," said Brandiilyne Dear, a protester. "This is not my heritage and I don't want to honor it and I don't want to celebrate it because this heritage brings harm to a large part of our state. "

Another protester echoed Dear's thoughts.

"This is a White supremacist holiday, this is taxpayer money for people to have a day off, people who could have taken off today who may not have a lot of resources," said Anna Beth Roe. "What if you needed to access this court today and it's closed for a racist holiday? It stands for history that we need to forget and to move past."

The Sons of Confederate Veterans Group issued the following statement regarding the protest:

While I respect those folks right to protest I think they are misguided in their reason. Confederate Memorial day was first observed April 25th 1866 by the women of Columbus MS, which they called decoration day, where they decorated the grave of both Union and Confederate soldiers graves. We as members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans only wish to honor and protect the good names of the Confederate soldier who fought to defend their homes. Those soldiers who were black, white. Hispanic, native American and others deserve no less.