Confederate flag protests prompt more SC Statehouse security

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Confederate flag supporters protest at South Carolina statehouse
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Confederate flag protests prompt more SC Statehouse security
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators Alice Horky wears confederate flag cowboy boots as she protests atop the South Carolina State House steps in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Jamie Lewis (R) stands over as a fellow demonstrator (C) takes a picture of her six-month old son Weston Rich (L) holding a confederate flag during a rally outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators Jim Horky (R) and his wife Alice (L) stand outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Protesters argue with a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House while calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators walk down the steps of the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Ben Crosby, of Walterboro, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators on the steps of the South Carolina State House while calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Hugh Crawford of Lexington, South Carolina speaks with his daughter Holli Crawford, age 7, as they join a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
A pro-confederate flag demonstrator drives by chanting as others wave the confederate flag outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Jamie Lewis, of Aiken, South Carolina, and her 6 month old son, Weston Rich, join a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Demonstrators protest at the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Pro-confederate flag demonstrator William Wells (C) chants 'heritage not hate' next to an anti-confederate flag demonstrator (R) outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Alice Dixie Horky, of Greenville, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators on the steps of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Ben Crosby, of Walterboro, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators at the South Carolina State House while calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Demonstrators protest at the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Storm clouds gather as pro-confederate flag demonstrators gather outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-confederate flag demonstrators march to the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015. There has been a growing clamor for the flag -- branded 'a reminder of systemic oppression and racist subjugation' by President Barack Obama on Friday -- to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. Once flown by the rebel army of the slave-owning South, the confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of regional heritage, but by many more as an ugly reminder of racism's cruel legacy. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Demonstrators protest at the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Katie Crum, of Columbia, South Carolina joins a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Jaluladin Abdul-Hamib (C) argues with a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 27: Hugh Crawford of Lexington, South Carolina speaks with his daughter Holli Crawford, age 7, as they join a group of demonstrators on the grounds of the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag to remain on the State House grounds June 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier in the week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley expressed support for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of the nine murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Security has been increased at the South Carolina Statehouse, where a Confederate flag has been the focus of protests since nine people were killed at a historic black church in Charleston two weeks ago, officials said Tuesday.

The Bureau of Protective Services, whose officers are assigned to security patrols at the downtown complex, has sent more officers there in recent weeks, said Public Safety Department spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli.

Iacobelli declined to give specifics on how many extra officers were sent to the complex or the total number of security personnel at the Statehouse in general. Jennifer Timmons, a spokeswoman for the Columbia Police Department, said that agency regularly patrols the Statehouse area and can quickly respond if help is needed.

Such a collaboration happened Monday night, when one man was arrested after a fight broke out over the flag that flies near a monument honoring Confederate soldiers. At around 7:15 p.m., about a dozen vehicles with Confederate flag supporters pulled up in front of the Statehouse and stopped in the middle of the street.

About 10 of the flag supporters clashed with about 30 people who were on the Statehouse grounds protesting the flag, the statement said. About 50 officers contained the clash, including officers from the Bureau of Protective Services assigned to the Statehouse, as well as Columbia police, University of South Carolina officers and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Nicholas Thompson, 25, of Irmo, South Carolina, has been charged with disorderly conduct. Online court records showed that Thompson posted bond late Monday and listed no attorney for him. His next court date is July 27.

Several groups have planned protests at the site, and impromptu flag-related demonstrations have developed in the last several weeks. The suspect in the Charleston shooting, Dylann Storm Roof, appears in a number of photographs online with the Confederate flag, prompting calls for removal of the flag from in front of the Statehouse.

"We want people feel safe to come down to the Statehouse, and we're just asking for people to maintain order and to demonstrate peacefully and respectfully during this time," Iacobelli said.

Just after dawn Saturday, a North Carolina woman scaled the more than 30-foot steel flagpole and, despite commands from Bureau of Protective Services officers to get down, removed the flag. She and a man who also had climbed over a wrought-iron fence to get to the flag were arrested, and the flag was raised again.

South Carolina lawmakers are expected next week to consider proposals to take the flag down and move it to a museum. The flag has flown at the Statehouse since the 1960s. It was removed from the Statehouse dome and placed at a Confederate Soldier Monument in front of the Statehouse in 2000.

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