Cheers erupted as the Confederate battle flag was removed Friday from the South Carolina Capitol, ending a decades-long fight that was reignited after themurders of nine members of a historically black Charleston church.
Throngs of people gathered ahead of the flag being taken down. Lawmakers and family members of the victims of the church massacre stood on the steps of the Statehouse to watch.
“Take it down! Take it down!” the crowd chanted as an honor guard from the South Carolina Highway Patrol marched toward the flag pole.
Two honor guard members reeled the flag down, and then folded it in a quick ceremony. Onlookers took photos and sang, while others yelled, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
An emblem of Civil War and Southern pride, the flag is also widely viewed as a symbol of racism. It was first raised above the South Carolina State House in Columbia to protest the civil rights movement in 1962. Since then, opponents of have been campaigning to take it down. In a 2000 compromise, the flag was moved to a flagpole on the Capitol grounds, and the state legislature was given the sole power to lower it.
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