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Confederate flag: Man arrested after fight at South Carolina statehouse

Published 30/06/2015

Pro-confederate flag demonstrators (L) and anti-confederate flag demonstrators (R) stand on opposite side of the South Carolina State House steps in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators (L) and anti-confederate flag demonstrators (R) stand on opposite side of the South Carolina State House steps in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators Alice Horky wears confederate flag cowboy boots as she protests atop the South Carolina State House steps in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
The confederate flag flies on the grounds of the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators Jim Horky (R) and his wife Alice (L) stand outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrator Jim Horky stands outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators walk down the steps of the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Six-month old Weston Rich holds a confederate flag as his mother Jamie Lewis (not seen) demonstrates outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators march to the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators gather outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
A pro-confederate flag demonstrator drives by chanting as others wave the confederate flag outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Anti-confederate flag protester Jalaudin Abdul-Hamib (C) argues with pro-confederate flag demonstrator William Wells (2nd L) outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrator William Wells (C) chants "heritage not hate" next to an anti-confederate flag demonstrator (R) outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrator William Wells (L) chants "heritage not hate" next to an anti-confederate flag demonstrator (R) outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
A pro-confederate flag demonstrator wears a t-shirt that depicts the Confederate legends of the US Civil War outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrator Peter Manos (C) argues with anti-confederate flag protester Jalaudin Abdul-Hamib (L) outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrator Peter Manos (C) argues with anti-confederate flag protester Paladin Abdul-Hamib (L) outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrator William Wells (C) chants "heritage not hate" next to a anti-confederate flag demonstrator (R) outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators shout outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded "a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation" by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This June 24, 2015 file photo shows the Confederate Flag as it flies on the South Carolina State House grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. A woman scaled a flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina State House to remove the Confederate flag June 27, 2015, US media said, amid fierce debate about the racially charged symbol. Police arrested the woman, who is black, as soon as she came down from the 30 foot (nine meter) pole, and the flag was restored to its original position about an hour later, the local Post and Courier newspaper said. Pictures on social media showed a woman, named by online and by media as Bree Newsome, being escorted by a policeman, her hands behind her back. #FreeBree was trending on Twitter. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
State workers take down a Confederate national flag on the grounds of the state Capitol, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered Confederate flags taken down from a monument at the state Capitol. (AP Photo/Martin Swant)
Protesters hold a sign during a rally to take down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina Statehouse, Tuesday, June 23, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. For years, South Carolina lawmakers refused to revisit the Confederate flag on Statehouse grounds, saying the law that took it off the dome was a bipartisan compromise, and renewing the debate would unnecessarily expose divisive wounds. The shooting deaths of nine people at a black church in Charleston, S.C., have reignited calls for the Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the Statehouse in Columbia to come down. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
An Alabama state trooper stands guard as a pro-Confederate rally is held at the Alabama state capitol building on Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. The rally was held by locals and members of several Southern heritage organizations who oppose the recent removal of Confederate flags from a monument at the capitol honoring Confederate Civil War soldiers. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
James Perry of Macon County stands on the Capitol steps during for a rally to protest the removal of Confederate flags from the Confederate Memorial Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP) MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
A Confederate flag flies at the base of Stone Mountain Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Stone Mountain, Ga. At Georgia's iconic Stone Mountain - where the Confederacy is enshrined in a giant bas-relief sculpture, the Ku Klux Klan once held notorious cross-burnings and rebel battle flags still wave prominently, officials are considering what to do about those flags. The park, which now offers family-friendly fireworks and laser light shows, is readying its "Fantastic Fourth Celebration" Thursday through Sunday, and multiple Confederate flag varieties are still displayed at the mountain's base. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Wayne Morrison holds a Confederate flag at Alabama State Capitol building during a Confederate flag rally on Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP) NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
A man holds a Confederate flag at Alabama State Capitol building during a Confederate flag rally on Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP) NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
Police surround the flagpole flying the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015 as Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C. climbs the pole to remove the banner. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C., climbs a flagpole to remove the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument in front of the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C., right, is taken into custody after she removed the Confederate battle flag from a monument in front of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Attendees of a pro-Confederate flag rally hold flags and listen to speakers at the Alabama state capitol building on Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. The rally was held by locals and members of several Southern heritage organizations who oppose the recent removal of Confederate flags from a monument at the capitol honoring Confederate Civil War soldiers. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
Attendees of a pro-Confederate flag rally listen to speakers on the steps of the Alabama state capitol building on Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. The rally was held by locals and members of several Southern heritage organizations who oppose the recent removal of Confederate flags from a monument at the capitol honoring Confederate Civil War soldiers. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Jaluladin Abdul-Hamib shouts "Take It Down" while engaging with a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: A group of demonstrators climbs the steps of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Ben Crosby, of Walterboro, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators at the South Carolina State House while calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: A group of demonstrators demonstrates at the top of the steps of the South Carolina State House while calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Ben Crosby, of Walterboro, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators on the steps of the South Carolina State House while calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Alice Dixie Horky, of Greenville, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators on the steps of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Alice Dixie Horky, of Greenville, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators on the steps of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Hugh Crawford of Lexington, South Carolina speaks with his daughter Holli Crawford, age 7, as they join a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Demonstrators protest at the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Demonstrators protest at the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Barbie Byrd, of Columbia, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Jaluladin Abdul-Hamib (C) argues with a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Demonstrators protest at the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Demonstrators protest at the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

One man has been arrested following a fight over the Confederate flag in front of South Carolina's statehouse.

Public safety department spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli said about a dozen vehicles containing Confederate flag supporters pulled up in front of the statehouse and stopped in the middle of the street.

Officers said about 10 of the flag supporters clashed with 30 people on the statehouse grounds who were staging a protest.

Twenty-five-year-old Nicholas Thompson of Irmo has been charged with disorderly conduct.

Meanwhile a push to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds has gained enough support among politicians, a survey has shown.

The campaign to remove the flag, a Civil War era symbol of the secessionist, pro-slavery rebel South, follows the shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston on June 17.

The pastor, state senator Clementa Pinckney, was among the dead and the shooting suspect, Dylann Roof, was shown in photographs brandishing the flag as a symbol of hate.

State governor Nikki Haley has called on legislators to send the battle flag to a museum.

While the flag for many South Carolinians stands for noble traditions of history, heritage and ancestry, for many others it was a "deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past", she said a week ago, adding: "The events of the past week call upon all of us to look at this in a different way."

In the survey, the Post and Courier newspaper, the South Carolina Press Association and the Associated Press asked all politicians how they intended to vote. At least 33 state senators and 82 state house of representatives members said the flag should go.


That appears to meet the two-thirds majority needed from both chambers to move the battle flag. That rule is part of the 2000 compromise that took the flag off the statehouse dome in Columbia and put a smaller, square version beside a monument to Confederate soldiers.

There are 123 members in the house and 45 in the senate. The exact number needed to pass a bill is uncertain. The two-thirds requirement applies to whoever is present and voting at the time.

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A day after Ms Haley made her public request, politicians overwhelmingly approved a resolution allowing them to add the flag to their special session's agenda. But that does not mean the debate will go smoothly.

Some did not want to risk harsh words amid a week of funerals. Legislators are expected to return to Columbia to consider Ms Haley's budget vetoes and take up legislation that would remove the flag.

"This is truly a defining moment for the leadership of this state and nation - not by mere words but bold and decisive action," said Democrat Jerry Govan, a house of representatives member since 1993.

Like most of the Legislative Black Caucus at the time, Mr Govan voted against the 2000 compromise.

Republican senator Kevin Bryant said the Charleston massacre, followed by an outpouring of forgiveness from the victims' families, changed his opinion on the flag.

It's a testament to Mr Pinckney that the shooter "so evil and full of hate was offered forgiveness and the light of Christ by the very people whom he sought to destroy", Mr Bryant said.

"Senator Pinckney is no longer with us, yet his message of love and forgiveness is strong in South Carolina."

Roof, 21, faces nine murder charges for the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Some legislators said they would not respond until after the funerals for all nine victims and others said they were still undecided.

Two proposals to remove the flag would send it to the state Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum. A third simply takes it down.

Meanwhile Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, campaigning in South Carolina, told voters that he removed the Confederate battle flag from the Florida capitol grounds in 2001 when he was governor.

He told about 100 employees of a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant outside Columbia that the banner had been a "racist symbol" in "recent, modern times", though "not perhaps at the beginning".

Mr Bush said he decided to send the flag in Florida to a museum "where our heritage can be respected" while recognising that the banner is among "symbols that have divided the South" for generations.

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