US & Canada

Confederate flag at South Carolina State House pulled down

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Media captionBree Newsome climbed the flag pole defying police calls to come down

A black woman has climbed the flagpole in the grounds of the South Carolina State House and removed its controversial Confederate flag.

Bree Newsome climbed the 30ft (9m) steel pole just after dawn on Saturday despite police telling her to come down, Associated Press reported.

Ms Newsome and a man were later arrested and the flag returned.

There have been calls for it to be removed since nine people were killed in a racist attack in Charleston.

Shooting suspect Dylann Roof had been pictured with the Civil War era saltire - seen by some as a symbol of slavery and racism - on a number of occasions.

Image copyright AP
Image caption There has been a social media campaign to remove the flag

Since the pictures emerged there has been pressure to remove the flag from the memorial in front of the South Carolina State House in Columbia.

It was first flown in 1962 in protest at the growing civil rights movement and has been a source of rancour and controversy in the state ever since.

The hashtag #TakeItDown has been trending on Twitter in the US.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Bree Newsome was taken into custody and the flag reinstated

White House spokesman Eric Schultz has said President Obama believes the Confederate flag "belongs in a museum".

Ms Newsome describes herself on Twitter as a filmmaker, singer, songwriter and freedom fighter.

A rally by flag supporters was scheduled for later on Saturday.

An impromptu Ride for Pride event took place in Brandon in Florida on Friday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There have been rallies to support the use of the flag

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