By Wayne Hester
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Reuters) - The governor of Alabama ordered Confederate flags removed from the grounds of the Southern state's Capitol building, his office announced on Wednesday.
"This is the right thing to do," Governor Robert Bentley said in a statement.
The flags located around the Confederate Memorial on the state capital grounds in Montgomery were taken down on Wednesday morning.
Bentley's press secretary, Yasamie August, said the governor made the decision because he did not want the flags to be a distraction from other state issues.
The Civil War-era flags of the South's pro-slavery Confederacy have become a lightning rod for outrage after the shootings last week at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine dead. Authorities say the attack was motivated by the gunman's racial hatred.
(Reporting by Wayne Hester and Susan Heavey; Writing by David Adams; Editing by Bill Trott)