COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Hundreds in opposition of the Confederate Battle Flag on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol attended a rally at the State House Tuesday at 11 a.m.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, Columbia Mayor Stephen Benjamin, City Council member J. Elliot Summey, Rev. Nelson Rivers, Senators Tom Davis and Marlon Kimpson, and other politicians and civil rights leaders made remarks at the rally.
"This is the day the flag comes down," Rivers said to the crowd.
The group asked for the South Carolina General Assembly to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the capitol and take it to a museum.
"Three words: Take it down," Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said. "Four words: Take it down now."
Many of the leaders referred to Rev. Clamenta Pinckney, one of the victims in the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church, as one of their close friends.
Others connected their efforts to the legislation passed after the alleged shooting of Walter Scott by a police officer in April. Senator Tom Davis said South Carolina passed the nation's first body camera bill after Scott's death, and argued the flag could be taken down in the wake of the most recent tragedy. "We have a chance to do something positive in the wake of [Pinckney's] death as well."
Plans to hold the rally were announced at a news conference in Charleston on Monday.
"The time has come for the [Confederate] flag to be removed from the State House grounds," Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said.
Those sentiments were echoed Monday evening by Governor Nikki Haley, who announced she is formulating a plan to have the Confederate Battle Flag removed from the grounds of the state capitol.
The General Assembly met after the rally and voted 103 to 10 to start discussing whether the Confederate flag should be moved.