Protesters fly large Confederate flag outside NCAA tournament in SC

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma applauds during the first half of the team's second-round game against Syracuse in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament Monday

South Carolina, a No. 7 seed, plays Friday at approximately 9:40 p.m. against No. 10 seed Marquette.

A small group of protesters flew the flag on the back of a pickup truck on top of a nearby parking garage.

In a statement, NCAA senior vice president Dan Gavitt said the organization was "proud" to host events in SC again, and that it is "committed to assuring that our events are safe and accessible to all".

The state's Secessionist Party put up the flag in the parking lot near the tournament venue in Greenville on Sunday morning. "The legislature told us they were going to do it".

SC went 15 years without hosting an NCAA championship event because of a controversy involving the flying of the Confederate flag on its statehouse grounds.

Bessinger said his group's members are frustrated by South Carolina's failure to display the Confederate in a state museum as agreed upon in the legislation that led to it being removed from the state house grounds.

Some basketball fans said the Confederate flag shouldn't be there. "We have enough gaps, so we want to try to bridge the gap with love".

In a statement, Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball, assured that the flags and other related symbols will not be allowed on the venue's property. "We are committed to assuring that all events are safe and accessible to all. Freedom of speech activities on public property in areas surrounding the arena are managed by the city of Greenville and we are supportive of the city's efforts". When one of the trucks pulled to the sidewalk and raised the flag on a telescopic flagpole, some 30 feet in the air, police ordered him to move.

"It doesn't matter what our belief system is personally".

Miller said his priority is safety for everyone while the event is being held.

The Midwest Regional in Kansas City was also sold out.



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