The state filed a lawsuit Monday to stop rest-stop demonstrations by the NAACP and a white pride group in a dispute over the Confederate flag.

Attorney General Charlie Condon said he had warned the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the European-American Unity Rights Organization that their protests were illegal.

The organizations are at odds over whether the flag should be flown on the grounds of the Statehouse. It was put there after being removed from the Statehouse dome and the legislative chambers in July 2000, six months after the NAACP began a state boycott to protest the flag.

On March 2, the NAACP began its "border patrols," with group members gathering at welcome centers along South Carolina's borders to discourage motorists from spending money while traveling through the state.

A week later, the New Orleans-based, white-rights group countered with its own patrols. EURO national director Vincent Breeding said Monday there are no plans for more events.

Condon said the protests violate both state and federal law at the federally funded welcome centers.

State NAACP director Dwight James said he would not comment until he had seen the lawsuit filed in York County.