Memorial Day weekend boat rally sparks controversy

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As Memorial Day weekend continues, people flocked to the beaches and some people hosted guests at their homes for the first time in months.

The Charleston harbor was also a little more crowded than usual this time of year because of an event that took place on the water today.

Supporters of President Trump made waves today with a boat parade.

Many are saying at least 500 boats, and at least a thousand people, were in the harbor participating in the event.

Hundreds of people also lined The Battery with chairs, flags, and fishing poles showing their support for the sitting president.

“I’m just excited about Charleston coming together as a community and supporting our president,” said one supporter on The Battery, Jennifer Curry.

“I support the USA and anyone that’s president,” said Justin Hustad, another parade participant. “I was taught to support the presidency.”

The parade lasted about three hours and many ended the parade by supporting local restaurants at Shem Creek.

Participants say todays parade was not only to come together and show support for President Trump, but to honor those who have lost their lives fighting for America.

“Now it’s Memorial Day in honor of those who passed,” said Hustad.

There are some people, including William Hamilton, the executive director of a Charleston-area resistance group, who think the parade was out of touch with the current climate.

“I find it remarkable that people are comfortable holding a party when over a thousand Americans a day are dying from a virus that they’re not interested in helping contain,” said Hamilton.

He says this weekend is about more than beaches and celebrations.

“I think to them it’s just a party weekend and this is the weekend where we remember our dead,” said Hamilton.

Curry believes as long as people are being safe, it’s okay to celebrate.

“It’s just Americans uniting and as long as people are being safe and practicing safe social distancing, then I’m all for it,” said Curry.

On the other side, Hamilton sees the parade in a different light saying participants are being “irresponsible.”

“I think they’re being irresponsible and cruel and callous and insensitive to the suffering of their fellow Americans,”

Hamilton hosted several events this weekend in a series called Operation Dynamo.

Local activists will launch Operation Dynamo today with three days of events pushing back against the damage Trump has done to the Lowcountry by supporting democracy, fighting the epidemic, feeding the hungry and sharing education.

William Hamilton

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