South Carolina governor calls for removal of Confederate flag from Statehouse

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South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley waits to speak to press outside the Emanuel AME Church June 19, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. US police arrested a white high school dropout Thursday suspected of carrying out a gun massacre at one of America's oldest black churches, the latest deadly assault to fuel simmering racial tensions. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The governor of South Carolina is calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state’s Capitol in Columbia.

Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, made statements Monday during a press conference after growing momentum in her state to remove the flag.

“It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” Haley said.

She added the Confederate flag “does not represent the future” of her state.

Her statement was met with applause from much of the audience.

The shooting deaths of nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, had reignited calls for the Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the Statehouse in Columbia to come down.

Rallies are being held, and politicians have joined the chorus of voices calling for its removal — an opinion that has carried political risks in the state in the past.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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