Representatives of the US civil rights movement are calling for Confederate flags to be removed from display at an Atlanta cemetery where the late president of a civil rights group co-founded by Martin Luther King Jr. has just been buried.
The campaigners are seeking to have the flag removed from a statue at the Westview Cemetery that memorialises 400 Confederate veterans of the Civil War buried at the cemetery. The flag was noticed by mourners attending the funeral of Rev. Howard Creecy Jr, the late president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which Luther King helped found.
Local reverend, Benford Stellmacher, said that the flag is representative of a divided and racist past and upset many of the mourners.
"Many people were upset and asked me to come and do something," said Reverend Stellmacher, who returned to the cemetery on Wednesday to protest the display.
The monument in question depicts a Southern soldier alongside a flagpole that flies an early version of the Confederate national flag and also its last flag, the familiar 'stars-and-bars' design that Confederate soldiers carried into battle.
The cemetery authorities have said that they are unable to take down the flag as they sold the rights to erect and maintain the monument to Confederate veterans groups many years ago. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose members trace their ancestry to Southerners who fought in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, have said that the flag will stay in place.