NAACP leaders said Tuesday that despite a lawsuit threat they will move ahead with plans to hold protests along South Carolina highways to discourage tourists from spending money in the state.

The protests, planned for rest stops and welcome centers, are part of the civil rights group's ongoing economic boycott over the state's display of the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds.

South Carolina NAACP executive director Dwight James said he is not fazed by Attorney General Charlie Condon's promise to sue the group.

"We've been through other threats of intimidation. We're going to press on until we reach the prize," James said.

Condon has said the protests are illegal because their aim is to harm someone else's business. He also argued that a welcome center is a nonpublic forum reserved for greeting visitors and it would be unlawful to use it to discourage tourism.

Legal advisers to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have told James that the "border patrols" will be within their constitutional rights to protest.

Condon, who is running for governor, said Tuesday he was optimistic leaders of the state NAACP will abandon the plans.

The NAACP has boycotted the state since early 2000, unsatisfied with the Legislature's compromise to remove the flag from the Statehouse dome and place it at the Confederate soldier monument on another part of the grounds.

James said the NAACP won't stop until the flag is removed from Statehouse grounds.

James declined to give an exact starting date for the protests, although the group said previously they would be held in late February at spots along major highways.