South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has called for removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state Capitol.
On Monday, the Republican governor said the controversial Civil War-era flag should be removed in the wake of last Wednesday’s mass shooting at a black church in Charleston.
"Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds," Haley told a press conference, also attended by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and other lawmakers and activists..
The flag, considered by many as a symbol of ongoing racist sentiments in the American South, "causes pain for so many", she said.
"One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come."
"The murderer now locked up in Charleston said he hoped his actions would start a race war. We have an opportunity to show that not only was he wrong, but that just the opposite is happening," she added."My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move our state forward in harmony, and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are now in Heaven."
The American forces supporting pro-slavery states carried the flag into battle in the 1861-65 American Civil War.
On Wednesday night, Dylann Roof, 21, opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, leaving nine African-American worshipers dead.