Alabama governor orders Confederate flags removed from state Capitol

State workers take down a Confederate national flag on the grounds of the state Capitol Wednesday in Montgomery, Ala.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has ordered Confederate flags taken down from the grounds of the state Capitol.

It’s the latest move to banish the divisive banner from state capitals, store shelves and monuments.

The Republican governor issued the order Wednesday morning, one week after police say a white man killed nine black church members in Charleston, South Carolina in a racially motived attack. Since the mass shooting, there has been a groundswell of calls to remove the flag.

For the past two decades, Alabama has displayed four Confederate flags around a large monument to Confederate soldiers outside the Alabama Capitol. On Wednesday, they had all come down.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis tells The Associated Press that Bentley did not want the presence of the Confederate symbols to be “a distraction.” She said there was no law prohibiting the removal of the flags by executive order.