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Confederate flag removed from state captiol

The Confederate Battle Flag is no longer flying on the grounds of the Alabama Capitol on the orders of Gov. Robert Bentley.

In an interview with a Birmingham News reporter, Bentley said his decision was partly in response to the Charleston shootings.

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“Yes, partially this is about that,” Bentley said. “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. This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise. We have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”

Bentley’s decision comes after many leaders across the South have worked to voice opposition to the display of the Confederate battle flag on public property after several pictures of the alleged Charleston shooter posing with the flag surfaced online.

Alabama’s flag removal follows that of several states.

Monday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) announced her intentions to work with the State Legislature to remove the flag from the grounds of their Capitol building.

Mississippi, the only state in the union to explicitly depict the symbol on its current state banner, has also begun to challenge the place it has in official contexts.

“We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us,” said Republican State House Speaker Phillip Gunn in a statement Monday. “As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi’s flag.”

Alabama law allows the Governor to make such a decision unilaterally, without legislation.