US rights group ends S Carolina boycott after flag removed
A leading US civil rights organisation has said it was ending its 15-year economic boycott of South Carolina after the controversial Confederate flag was removed from the state's legislature.
Washington: A leading US civil rights organisation has said it was ending its 15-year economic boycott of South Carolina after the controversial Confederate flag was removed from the state's legislature.
The Civil War-era battle flag, regarded by many as a bitter symbol of racism and slavery, was taken down Friday following protests in the wake of last month's church massacre that left nine African-American worshippers dead.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ended its boycott against the state in an emergency resolution, calling the flag "a symbol of racial, ethnic and religious hatred, oppression, and murder which offends untold millions of people."
It welcomed the move to remove it, but said there was still work to be done to address discrimination.
"While removal of the flag was clearly a victory for the NAACP and a defeat for promoters of hate, the NAACP clearly recognises that there are still battles to be fought in other states and jurisdictions where emblems of hate and oppression continue to be celebrated," the group said.
"Removal of the confederate flag is not going to solve most of the severe tangible challenges facing our nation, including discrimination in our criminal justice system, economic system, employment, education, housing, health care, or other barriers."
The red, white and blue flag has been a focal point of controversy in South Carolina -- birthplace of the Confederacy -- since it was raised in the early 1960s atop the State House dome in defiance of the civil rights movement then sweeping the United States.
Anger over the symbol mounted after a young white gunman, Dylann Roof, opened fire on a Bible study class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17, killing nine people, including the church's pastor.
Roof, 21, who was indicted on nine counts of murder, reportedly sought to ignite a race war and had been photographed before the attack brandishing firearms and the Confederate flag.
By law, the flag outside the State House could only be removed with the approval of two-thirds of South Carolina's Senate and House of Representatives. Governor Nikki Haley signed the order into law on Thursday.