Pressure is mounting on South Carolina to pull down the Confederate flag that continues to fly on the grounds of the state capitol, after a Republican legislator announced plans to introduce a bill to remove the divisive symbol that has inflamed feelings in the wake of the Charleston church shootings.

Norman “Doug” Brannon, a white legislator, said on MSNBC that he wanted to introduce the bill because of the death of his friend Clementa Pinckney, a reverend and state senator who was pastor of the Emanuel AME church and one of nine worshippers gunned down there on Wednesday night.

“I’m not political tonight, but I do have access and I will file that bill in December,” Brannon said.

The flag, which represents the region that seceded from the Union in 1861 in defense of slavery, has become the focus of rising tension in South Carolina as a result of the racist opinions expressed by the suspected shooter, Dylann Roof, 21, who was arrested a day after the rampage in a car that bore the Confederate icon. The Battle Flag of the Northern Virginia Army, as the controversial banner is also known, once flew above the state house dome, but was moved to its current location still in state grounds in 2000.

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