One of the United States’ largest retailers has announced it will no longer stock Confederate flags in the wake of the Charleston shooting last week.
Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue, will also remove all Confederacy-related items from its thousands of stores across the US.
The decision follows South Carolina’s governor Nikki Haley announcement yesterday that she intended to remove the Confederacy flag from all local state buildings, where it still flies.
Walmart previously stocked a range of Confederacy-stamped merchandise, including t-shirts and belt buckles, but in a statement to CNN the company said it did not wish to “offend” anyone.
Walmart spokesman Brian Nick said: "We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment - whether in our stores or on our web site”.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting of nine African American individuals at the historically black Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston by 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who has confessed to the crime, debate gathered at the continued use of flags.
Pictures emerging on the internet show Roof waving a Confederate flag while holding a gun, fuelling criticism over the continued use of the flag from the American Civil War.
The flag, most strongly associated with the seven states that seceded from the north in favour of continuing slavery provoking the American Civil War, has become widely associated with racism.
Many American commentators – including political figures such as US president Barack Obama and some presidential candidates for 2016 – have called for the flag to be retired to museums.
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