Old Joe stands in the center of the downtown square of Gainesville, Ga. Called Old Joe by locals, the soldier wears a belt buckle emblazoned with the initials "CSA" for Confederate States of America and boasts a plaque declaring he is dedicated to "Southern Convictions."  (AP Photo/The Times, Paula Stuhr)

LATEST DETAILS: ‘Old Joe’ Confederate statue protest passes peacefully in Gainesville

A protest of the “Old Joe” Confederate monument on Gainesville’s downtown square drew a small crowd and sparked no violence Saturday, according to police.

About 15 to 20 protesters and counterprotesters showed up, according to Gainesville Police spokesman Kevin Holbrook.

Socialist groups organizing the Hall County event reportedly had expected as many as 30 participants at the 11:30 a.m. gathering, according to The Gainesville Times.   

A similar event last year in the North Georgia town attracted 150 to 200 people, including counterprotesters, Holbrook said.

The event Saturday, like the one last year, remained peaceful, he said.

Confederate symbols continue to be a potent source of controversy as communities contemplate whether to keep them, pull them down, refocus them or ship them off.

There’s evidence that the “OId Joe” statue in Gainesville is actually a figure of a Spanish American War soldier that was converted to be used in a monument to the Confederacy. The monument is more than 100 years old.

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