Man plans rally to protest removal of Confederate memorial

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WENDY VICTORA @WendyVnwfdn

A Milton man is organizing a rally Saturday morning to protest the removal of a Confederate memorial from a Pensacola park.

Thomas Olsen said his ancestors on his father’s side fought for the Confederate Army, while those on his mother’s side were with the Union.

“That’s history to my family,” he said of the monument at Lee Square on Palafox Street. “Myself, and I can speak for a lot of people, believe that they’re trying to destroy that history because of some misguided views as to what those monuments stand for.”

He said that although the Confederacy supported slavery, it was also a key part of Southern history. He said he does not condone slavery and that white supremacist groups were not welcome at the rally, which starts at 9 a.m.

“They don’t need to bother showing up at all,” he said.

A number of petitions are circulating online on both sides of the issue, including one Olsen started on change.org.

Olsen, whose father was in the Air Force, moved to the area seven years ago. He identifies himself as an “extreme conservative,” and said he’s tired of those “from the left” going around and yelling until they get their way, he said.

“I’m trying to give a voice to those who wouldn’t necessarily have a voice,” he said.

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