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Alabama Gov. removes Confederate battle flag from Capitol

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Posted at 11:37 AM, Jun 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-24 17:53:04-04

While South Carolina wrangles over how to take down a flag, Alabama wasted little time.

Workers removed the battle flag from a Confederate memorial in front of the Alabama capitol grounds Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The Alabama State Capitol was the first capitol of the Confederate States of America, in 1861.

Gov. Robert Bentley confirmed to reporters that he ordered the flag removed.

“This is the right thing to do. We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with,” he said, according to AL.com. “This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do.”

The three official flags of the Confederacy were also later removed. The battle flag in particular has faced renewed criticism since Dylann Roof shot nine people to death at a historic black church in Charleston.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and other state leaders called for the Confederate flag’s removal from a monument near the South Carolina State House. However, they maintain that only an act of the state’s Congress can remove the flag.

Many southerners consider the Confederate battle flag a symbol of southern pride. But to many, it’s a symbol of slavery and oppression. 

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.