Irmo man arrested at Statehouse after confrontation with anti-Confederate flag protesters

The Confederate flag is still flown on Statehouse grounds in Columbia, SC. Lauren Prescott/Staff Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

COLUMBIA — An Irmo man was arrested Monday night after confronting a crowd of anti-Confederate battle flag protesters, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety Bureau of Protective Services.

Nicholas Thompson, 25, is charged with disorderly conduct.

About 30 protesters, who oppose the flying of the Confederate battle flag, were on Statehouse grounds when a group of about 15 vehicles with pro-flag supporters pulled up on Gervais Street and stopped in the middle of the road, according to a media release.

The group of vehicles were headed toward Sumter Street when about eight to 10 occupants exited and began to engage in an altercation with the crowd at the Statehouse.

BPS and additional law enforcement were able to contain the situation. The S.C. Highway Patrol, University of South Carolina Police and Columbia Police Department also responded to the scene.

Protesters remain on Statehouse grounds with an increased law enforcement presence to monitor the situation, the release states.

A June 17 mass shooting in Charleston has sparked intense debate about the banner’s fate. Nine people, including a state senator, died in the shooting, which took place during a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

An alleged white supremacist who is pictured with a Confederate flag in photos on the Internet has been charged with their murders.

A poll of S.C. lawmakers has determined that both the House and the Senate have achieved the two-thirds majority needed to take the flag down, if all supporters were to cast their votes.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughton.