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Activist Climbs Flagpole At S.C. Statehouse, Removes Confederate Banner

Activist climbing flagpole at South Carolina's Capitol to remove Confederate battle flag.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

An African-American activist scaled the 30-foot flag pole in front of the South Carolina Statehouse early this morning and removed the Confederate battle flag that flies there.

Despite a call from Gov. Nikki Haley to take down the flag in the wake of the racially-motivated killing of nine members of a black church in Charleston last week, the banner representing the Civil War-era South is protected by state law.

It was raised again shortly after the woman, and a male accomplice, were arrested, The Associated Press reports.

The AP says the woman, later identified as Bree Newsome, 30, was about half-way up the pole when State Capitol police told her to come down. Instead, she continued up and removed the flag before returning to the ground.

The news agency quotes Sherri Iacobelli, a spokeswoman for South Carolina's Department of Public Safety, as saying Newsome and her alleged accomplice, Ian Tyson, 30, were charged with defacing monuments on state Capitol grounds.

Newsome released an emailed statement to the media writing that she and Tyson "removed the flag today because we can't wait any longer. We can't continue like this another day."

"It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality," she wrote.

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