Mississippi votes to strip Confederate emblem from state flag

Mississippi is the last state in the US to feature the Confederate emblem on its flag

Politicians in the US state of Mississippi have passed a resolution to replace the state flag with one without the Confederate emblem.

Republican Governor Tate Reeves earlier said he would sign the legislation into law if approved by lawmakers.

Mississippi is the last state in the US to feature the emblem on its flag.

The Confederate emblem is viewed by many as a racist symbol, with recent protests over the death of George Floyd reigniting debate over its use.

The flag was originally used by the slave-owning states that lost the US Civil War (1861-65).

On Sunday, the measure passed in both chambers of the Mississippi legislature: in the House of Representatives by a margin of 91-23, and then in the Senate by a majority of 37-14.

Senators reportedly cheered when the results were announced.

Lawmakers voted in favour of proposing the bill on Saturday.

Mr Reeves, who had previously said that he would not veto a bill – but did not publicly back it, said on Saturday that “if they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it”.

“The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it,” he wrote on Twitter.

He added: “We should not be under any illusion that a vote in the Capitol is the end of what must be done – the job before us is to bring the state together.”

“I would never have thought that I would see the flag come down in my lifetime,” Democrat Barbara Blackmon, who is African-American, said on Saturday.

A nine-member commission is expected to design a new flag, to be be voted on in November, that includes the phrase: “In God, We Trust.”

Hundreds of statues dedicated to the Confederacy – the southern states which revolted against the US government – exist all throughout the US, and often serve as an reminder of the history of slavery and racial oppression in the US.

But the depth of feeling that followed the death of George Floyd has led to renewed demands for an end to institutional racism. In the US and other countries statues of controversial historical figures have either been pulled down or taken down.

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