Mississippi moves to change its state flag

By Sinéad Carew

(Reuters) - The Mississippi House of Representatives on Saturday voted to move ahead with a process that could result in the removal of a Confederate emblem from the state flag, according to media reports, and the governor vowed to approve a bill.

Nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality triggered by the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody, have led to calls for the removal of Confederate statues and other symbols of the legacy of slavery in the United States.

The Mississippi House voted 85-34 in favor of the measure, which would need approval in the Senate before going to the Southern state's Republican governor, according to reports.

Governor Tate Reeves tweeted on Saturday that with state legislators deadlocked for days as they consider a new flag "it's time to end it. If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it."

Reeves said the state should find a way to come together, and heal its wounds, "to forgive, to resolve that the page has been turned, to trust each other."

On Tuesday, the Mississippi Baptist Convention called on state leaders to adopt a new flag, and said the lawmakers have a moral obligation to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag as many people are "hurt and shamed" by it.

Walmart on Tuesday said it would no longer display the flag in its stores, consistent with its decision to not sell merchandise with the Confederate flag from stores and online sites.

In the 19th century, Southern states, faced with the prospect of having to give up slavery, formed the Confederacy and broke away from the United States, leading to the 1861-1865 Civil War.

(Reporting by Sinéad Carew; editing by Jonathan Oatis)