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December 12, 2017
Monday, June 22, 2015

South Carolina governor calls for Confederate flag's removal

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has called on lawmakers to take down the Confederate battle flag in the state capital, a week after a white gunman allegedly shot dead nine black worshipers at a historic church.

The flag that has flown at the State House grounds in Columbia for the past half century became a fresh focus of criticism in recent days after the Charleston church massacre, which federal authorities are investigating as a hate crime and an act of terrorism by accused gunman Dylann Roof, 21, who posed with the flag in photos posted online.

"It's time to move the flag from the capital grounds," Haley, a Republican, told a news conference in the state capital, about 161 km from the shooting.

"The flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state."

Haley called on lawmakers, whose normal legislative year wraps up this week, to address the issue over the summer and said she would order a special session if they did not.

The shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church came in a year of intense debate over US race relations following the killings of unarmed black men by police officers, which has sparked a reinvigorated civil rights movement under the "Black Lives Matter" banner.

Opponents of flying the flag at the State House grounds consider it an emblem of slavery that has become a rallying symbol for racism and xenophobia in the United States. Supporters, who fly the flag at their homes, wear it on clothing and put it on bumper stickers, see it is a symbol of the South's history and culture, as well a memorial to the roughly 480,000 Confederate Civil War casualties. That figure includes the dead, wounded and prisoners.

A group of both black and white leaders called for a rally tomorrow at the State House in Columbia to bring their demand directly to lawmakers.

"The only flag we should be worried about is the US flag," said Carl Smith, a 29-year-old black man, standing outside the church that was the site of the shooting. "Why would you support a flag that represents division instead of a flag that unites people?"

Roof was arrested on Thursday and charged with nine counts of murder for allegedly gunning down members of a Bible study group at the "Mother Emanuel" church. He is the apparent author of an online racist manifesto.

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Tags:  Charleston  US  gun control  murder  church  





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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia