More than 70 people rallied with Confederate battle flags outside the courthouse in Stafford County, attracting a smaller number of counter-protesters.

Rally co-organizers Jason Sulser of Stafford and Manny Vega of Midlothian organized Friday's rally. They said the event was intended to honor history and their Southern heritage.

The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg reported that many at the rally arrived with visible firearms.

Vega and Sulser said the rally was to honor Civil War dead and to stand by the flag, which has ignited debate since the massacre of nine at a Charleston, South Carolina, church. The man suspected in the shootings had posed with the Confederate battle flag.

About a half-dozen people came out to oppose the rally's message. Some held signs that read, "Not my flag."