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UPDATE: SC governor calls for removal of confederate flag from statehouse grounds

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The Sons of Confederate Veterans says it plans to vigorously fight any effort to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina's Statehouse. The Sons of Confederate Veterans says it plans to vigorously fight any effort to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina's Statehouse.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gov. Nikki Haley is throwing her support behind removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds following a racially charged shooting in Charleston that killed nine African-Americans during a Bible study last week.

Haley becomes the highest-profile state leader to call for the flag's removal after the shooting.

The governor made the announcement during a 4 p.m. news conference after sources indicated she was working with state leaders to formulate a plan to remove the flag.

Thousands appeared outside the State House on Saturday night to protest and call for the flag's removal. State leaders, celebrities, and others of note have also gotten behind the movement to remove the flag.

The flag's current spot on the State House grounds came in 2000 following a legislative compromise that removed the flag from the State House dome to the Confederate Memorial in front of Gervais Street.

Calls for the flag's outright removal have been around in the 15 years following the compromise. But those calls have turned into a deafening buzz in the days following the shooting at Charleston Emanuel AME Church.

Investigators say Dylann Roof, 21, walked into the church on Wednesday night and sat down for Bible study with the nine victims before opening fire. Roof fled the scene, investigators said, and was eventually captured in Shelby, NC.

Roof faces nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the case. He remains at the Charleston County Detention Center on a $1 million bond.



By Associated Press

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) - Monday afternoon at a press conference in North Charleston a group of Charleston-area political and religious leaders are called on state lawmakers to vote this week to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina's capital grounds.

Officials including Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. and Democratic state Sen. Marlon Kimpson in North Charleston on Monday called on legislators to stay in session and vote as early as Tuesday to take down the flag from its place in front of the statehouse in Columbia.

The Rev. Nelson B Rivers III of the National Action Network said the flag should be removed before the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney lies in state at the Statehouse on Wednesday. Pinckney and eight other church members were shot to death last week as they attended Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.

READ MORE | Sen. Corker: I would vote to bring the flag down

Kimpson says he's informed state Senate leaders that there is a "growing chorus" of members interested in taking up a debate while lawmakers are in session to discuss the budget.

The White House says President Barack Obama believes the Confederate flag should no longer be flown in Charleston, South Carolina, or elsewhere, but doesn't have authority over that decision.

Spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama has maintained for years that the Confederate flag "should be taken down and placed in a museum where it belongs," but recognizes it's an issue for individual states.

Earnest says it's very clear what Obama thinks would be the appropriate action.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans says it plans to vigorously fight any effort to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina's Statehouse.

The group says it was horrified at last week's shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, allegedly by a white man who was photographed several times holding the Confederate flag and with other symbols of white supremacy.

In a statement, the group says there is "absolutely no link" between the massacre and the banner.

Leland Summers, South Carolina commander of the group, says the group is about heritage and history, not hate. He offered condolences to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and says now is not the time to make political points.

Summers said the Sons of Confederate Veterans have 30,000 members nationwide that will fight any attempt to move the flag.
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