Amazon removes Confederate flag and merchandise

Massive sales jump prompts move

Amazon Drops Confederate Flag Merchandise After Massive Sales Jump

Online retailer Amazon has joined other major US retailers, including Walmart and Sears, in banning sales of the Confederate flag and Confederate merchandise following the shooting last week at a historic black church in South Carolina.

The flag, a red rectangle marked with a blue cross embedded with white stars, is seen by many in the US as a symbol of the pro-slavery South during the American Civil War.

It became a potent symbol for the southern states fighting the war as they sought to break away from the union.

Amazon said that it plans to remove all flags and related merchandise. The move comes nearly a week after the massacre of nine black parishioners by an alleged white supremacist at a black church in Charleston.

Dylann Roof, the accused shooter, brandished Confederate flags in photos posted on his Facebook page and espoused violent, racist ideas in a manifesto posted online that he is believed to have written, reports the Huffington Post.

Protests in Charleston

Over the past week, protesters have marched in South Carolina demanding that the flag, which flies on the grounds of the state capitol building in Columbia, be removed.

By Tuesday afternoon, sales of Confederate flags on Amazon had jumped nearly 4,600 percent, presumably in response to the controversy generated by the shooting and its aftermath.

The ban now put in place appears to affect Confederate flag items listed both by individual sellers and by Amazon itself.

On Monday, Walmart and Sears vowed to remove the banners and related items from their stores. Earlier on Tuesday, eBay banned Confederate flag paraphernalia from its website.