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Georgia Caves to Pressure, Reverses Ban on Confederate Flag License Plates

© REUTERS / Carlo AllegriA large Confederate battle flag flies above highway 75 in Tampa Bay, Florida June 24, 2015
A large Confederate battle flag flies above highway 75 in Tampa Bay, Florida June 24, 2015 - Sputnik International
The state of Georgia has given in to pressure from a neo-confederate group and will once again begin issuing Confederate flag license plates.

In June, Governor Nathan Deal ordered a redesign for the state-sponsored specialty plates, which featured a large image of the Confederate flag in the background, and which many complained embraced an image that celebrates the South’s history of oppression and slavery.

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The flag has been under extreme scrutiny in the US following the terrorist massacre at a Charleston Church prayer group meeting that left nine innocent people dead.  The shooter, Dylann Roof, was a supporter of the Confederate symbol.

In August, the state erased Confederate Memorial Day as well as Robert E. Lee’s birthday from the official Georgia holiday calendar.

This week, they reached an agreement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans group on a redesign of the plates, which may be available as soon as next week.

State authorities have not made the new design public as of yet, but it is said to feature a “blood red” version of the rebel flag in the foreground.

"We did agree to remove the faded background as most of the Camps indicated that they would be willing to do as long as the SCV logo was in its place of prominence on the tag,” Tim Pilgrim, a Sons of Confederate Veterans leader, wrote of the redesign in a statement. “They also agreed to let us darken the red in the logo to a deeper blood red. We hope to have that completed by the end of this week and our tag will start to be available to our membership and the citizens of Georgia by next week."

North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee had ordered the Sons of Confederate Veterans plates to be eliminated entirely following the deadly shooting.

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In Georgia, however, more than 3,500 motorists have signed up for the new plates, with the group stating that demand for the special tags has surged amid the controversy over the flag.

At the same time, more than 4,200 people have signed a petition calling for the state to scrap the plates all together.

State Senator Vincent Fort spoke out against the plates, saying that redesigning them instead of stopping production is like "stabbing in the back and only taking the knife out halfway."

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