The divisive Confederate flag came down Friday at South Carolina’s legislature, drawing a line under a furor rekindled last month by the murder of nine black churchgoers by a young white supremacist. Thousands gathered at the State House in Carolina to cheer the removal of the red, white and blue Civil War-era flag, regarded by many as a bitter symbol of racism. “A signal of goodwill and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future,” President Barack Obama said on Twitter. The flag has been a focal point of controversy in South Carolina since it was raised in the early 1960s atop the State House dome in defiance of the civil rights movement then sweeping the United States. It was relocated in 2000 to a 30-foot flag pole alongside a memorial to Confederate war dead on the State House lawn. Under the state law, the flag could only be removed with the approval of two-thirds South Carolina’s Senate and House of Representatives. That came this week with both houses voting overwhelmingly in favour of the flags removal. “The State House is an area that belongs to everyone and no one should ever drive by the State House and feel pain,” Governor Nikki Haley said on Friday.