Supporters, who fly the flag or wear it on clothing, see it as a symbol of the South’s history and culture, as well a memorial to the Confederate casualties during the 1861-65 Civil War.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Sears Holdings Corp said they would stop selling products bearing the Confederate flag, a week after a white gunman shot nine dead at a historically black South Carolina church.

The move by the major retailers came the same day South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called on lawmakers to take down the flag, considered by opponents to be a symbol of slavery and racism, at the state capitol grounds.