Thousands sign Confederate flag petition, saying #TakeItDown
Thousands of Americans are petitioning for removal of Confederate flags from government buildings in South Carolina, following the shooting deaths of nine people Wednesday inside a historically black church in Charleston.
Confederate flag flying over South Carolina state house sparks controversy <a href="http://t.co/19ugAsDOfh">http://t.co/19ugAsDOfh</a> <a href="http://t.co/5O8SyhMZRE">pic.twitter.com/5O8SyhMZRE</a>—@ABC7
The petition, which has already amassed more than 100,000 signatures since its launch, is set to be delivered to the South Carolina state house, the state senate and Gov. Nikki Haley once the goal of 125,000 signatures is met.
Since the attack, thousands of tweets have been posted using the hashtag #TakeItDown, referring to the flag, and the hashtags #ConfederateFlag and #TakeItDown have been top Twitter trends.
The suspected shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, had photos on his Facebook page in which he was posing with a Confederate flag plate on his car and wearing a jacket bearing the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia.
The debate surrounding the use of the Confederate flag has long divided the state. Those in favour of its use argue that it is a symbol of southern pride, while those opposed argue that it is racist, often making reference to the Cornerstone speech of 1861 by Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens.
The designer of the second national flag of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Confederacy?src=hash">#Confederacy</a>, explaining what it stood for: <a href="http://t.co/KY8nlO8mgp">pic.twitter.com/KY8nlO8mgp</a>—@jnthnwwlsn
Imagine if the U.S. was as interested in taking down symbols of tyranny in their own backyard. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeItDown?src=hash">#TakeItDown</a> <a href="http://t.co/2m2RrCDLqT">pic.twitter.com/2m2RrCDLqT</a>—@DabAggin
Charleston shooting backdrop. <a href="http://t.co/HDuDvIzdbf">http://t.co/HDuDvIzdbf</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CharlestonShooting?src=hash">#CharlestonShooting</a> <a href="http://t.co/FzGi8AuWMZ">pic.twitter.com/FzGi8AuWMZ</a>—@GlobeWasserman
The Confederate flag, has been criticized by many civil rights activists, including the NAACP, as a symbol of pro-slavery in the Deep South during the Civil War.
Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic also made a call for the removal of the Confederate flag in a tweet that circulated widely on Twitter Friday.
"Take down the flag. Take it down now. Move forward. Abandon this charlatanism. Move forward. Do it now." <a href="http://t.co/SlCuI3Wge9">http://t.co/SlCuI3Wge9</a>—@tanehisicoates
Supporters who are in favour of the continued use of the Confederate flag argue that it is a symbol of southern pride.
<a href="https://twitter.com/DefendingDixie">@DefendingDixie</a> lov my Confederate Flag it waves proudly next to Current America Flag—@GiamattiJenna
Others said that removing a symbol would be pointless if no other cultural changes happen.
Fly the flag, remove the flag, it doesn't matter as long as the ideology remains firmly in place. <a href="https://twitter.com/tanehisicoates">@tanehisicoates</a>—@dwhite10701
Following a gathering of family members of some of the nine people shot in Charleston, the NAACP's national president and CEO Cornell Brooks, who was in attendance, called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state house.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/NAACP">@NAACP</a> president says confederate flag must come down in wake of white man killing 9 at black church <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CharlestonShooting?src=hash">#CharlestonShooting</a>—@Msuwonkunda
Supreme Court says states can block Confederate flag license plates <a href="http://t.co/7o6svnD663">http://t.co/7o6svnD663</a>—@CornellWBrooks
U.S. President Barack Obama also used Twitter to weigh in on the tragedy after speeches were given by family members of the shooting victims.
In the midst of darkest tragedy, the decency and goodness of the American people shines through in these families. <a href="https://t.co/aYtAKrWwCY">https://t.co/aYtAKrWwCY</a>—@POTUS