According to AL.com, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley ordered the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the foot of the Confederate memorial on the grounds of the Capitol building.
The flag was taken down this morning.
Two workers came out of the Capitol building about 8:20 a.m. Eastern time and quickly and quietly took the flag down. They declined to answer questions.
Moments later Gov. Bentley emerged from the Capitol on his way to an appearance in Hackleburg. Asked if he had ordered the flag taken down, the governor said, “Yes I did.”
Asked his reasons for taking it down and if it included what happened in Charleston last week, the governor said,
“Yes, partially this is about that. This is the right thing to do. We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with. This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”
Bentley said before he made the final decision he checked to see if there were any impediments in the law or state policy that would prevent him from taking down the flag and found none, so he acted.
After the battle flag – which is at the center of the controversy – was gone, workers removed three other Civil War era flags about an hour and half later, including the First National Confederate Flag (commonly referred to as the “Stars and Bars”), the Second National Confederate Flag (commonly known as the “Stainless Banner”), and the Third National Confederate Flag.
The workers did not answer questions.
After the flags were removed, a protester carrying a Confederate flag showed up at the monument.
“If you don’t change people’s hearts, changing a flag won’t do anything toward racism,” said Mike Williams of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
In the private sector, eBay, Amazon, Walmart and Sears have all vowed to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise.