Some of the USA's largest retailers are backing calls from lawmakers and civil rights groups to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina State House, a week after the gunning down of nine black church members in Charleston.
The Civil War-era flag of the South's pro-slavery Confederacy, seen as an emblem long associated with racism, has become a symbol lightning rod for outrage over the Charleston murders which authorities say were racially motivated.
Walmart and Amazon.com are the latest companies saying they will no longer sell the rebel flag, joining EBay Inc, Google Inc, and Sears Holding Corp.
The country's most prominent flag makers have also said they would no longer manufacture or sell the flag.
Dylan Roof, the 21-year-old white man charged with murder for the shooting last Wednesday, had posed with a Confederate flag in on-line photos he had posted with a racist manifesto.
South Carolina state lawmakers voted on Tuesday to open debate on removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds. The law which requires the flag to be hung on the grounds, may only be amended or repealed on the passing of an act which has received a two-thirds vote on the third reading of the bill in each branch of the South Carolina General Assembly.