2015-06-23T204032Z_1_LYNXMPEB5M10E_RTROPTP_2_USA-SHOOTING-SOUTH-CAROLINA

Battle over Confederate flag unfurls in South Carolina and beyond

The confederate battle flag flies at the South Carolina State House grounds in ColumbiaAn initiative to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House grounds picked up steam on Tuesday, a week after the massacre of nine black church members, and criticism over the emblem long associated with slavery spread to other U.S. southern states. U.S. retailers joined lawmakers in distancing themselves from the banner, with industry leaders Amazon.com Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc pulling the images of the rebel flag from their stores and websites, joining Google Inc, Sears Holdings Corp and eBay Inc. The Civil War-era flag of the South’s pro-slavery Confederacy has become a lightning rod for outrage over the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, which authorities say was motivated by racial hatred.

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