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The BBC's Andrew Webb
"A symbol of defiance by whites against the civil rights movement"
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Saturday, 1 July, 2000, 21:41 GMT 22:41 UK
Confederate flag comes down
The Confederate flag is seen as a reminder of slavery
South Carolina has lowered the last Confederate flag flying above a US statehouse - more than 135 years after the end of the civil war.

As the flag was taken down, hundreds of police were deployed to keep rival sets of protesters apart.

One person was arrested for assault.

Officials hope the removal of the flag from the South Caroline Capitol dome will help resolve a decades-long controversy that ignited racial animosities and human rights protests.

But as it was being removed, civil war re-enactors dressed in 1860s-style military uniforms raised a smaller version of the colours on a pole at the Soldier Monument in front of the Capitol.

Flag handover
The flag will now be kept in a South Carolina museum
The authorities were forced to move the flag under pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) that started a tourism boycott of the state.


But thousands of protesters gathered at the scene, and the NAACP said it was not happy that the flag was still in the Capitol grounds.

It said it would continue its protests until the flag is removed from any location it views as sovereign territory.

Many in the state, particularly African Americans, see the Confederate battle colours as a symbol of slavery and discrimination against black people.

But supporters of the Confederate flag say it is a symbol of southern heritage and a memorial to those killed in the Civil War, which began in South Carolina.

State Senator Bill Brandon called the compromise "the biggest mistake we've ever made in this General Assembly" and promised to lead efforts to put the flag back on the dome.

Folding the flag
The rectangular "naval jack" flew above the Capitol for 38 years
Hundreds of demonstrators held bright yellow signs reading "Shame" and blew whistles as the flag was raised atop the new flagpole.

"We're blowing the whistle on racism," Brett Burley, director of the South Carolina Progressive Network, said.

The battle flag war raised above South Carolina's legislative building in 1962 after hanging in legislative chambers for decades. It flew beneath the US and state flags.

At the time, raising the colours was seen as a symbol of opposition to the civil rights movement on the part of South Carolina whites.

South Carolina was the only state to still fly the flag above its Capitol building, which still shows marks of northern Union army cannonballs from the war.

The original flag will now be put on display at the State Museum.

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