MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has ordered all Confederate flags to be taken down from state Capitol.
It’s the latest move to banish the divisive banner from state capitals, store shelves and monuments.
The Republican governor issued the order Wednesday morning, one week after police say a white man killed nine black church members in Charleston, South Carolina in a racially motived attack. Since the mass shooting, there has been a groundswell of calls to remove the flag.
For the past two decades, Alabama has displayed four Confederate flags around a large monument to Confederate soldiers outside the Alabama Capitol. On Wednesday, they had all come down.
Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis tells The Associated Press that Bentley did not want the presence of the Confederate symbols to be “a distraction.” She said there was no law prohibiting the removal of the flags by executive order.
The decision comes a day after Rep. Alvin Holmes said he would file a legislative resolution to remove Confederate flags from the Capitol grounds.
Holmes said the flags are offensive and have no place at a public building.
Debate over Confederate symbols reignited after the massacre in South Carolina. The white suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, appeared in photos holding the banner.
Holmes led a successful fight in the 1990s to remove the Confederate flag from flying atop the Alabama Capitol dome.