CRIME

Woman climbs flagpole in front of South Carolina statehouse, removes Confederate flag

  • Police surround the flagpole flying the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument  at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015 as Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C. climbs the pole to remove the banner. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later.  (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

    Police surround the flagpole flying the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015 as Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C. climbs the pole to remove the banner. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C., climbs a flagpole to remove the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument in front of the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later.  (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

    Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C., climbs a flagpole to remove the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument in front of the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C., removes the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later.  (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

    Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C., removes the Confederate battle flag at a Confederate monument at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, June, 27, 2015. She was taken into custody when she came down. The flag was raised again by capitol workers about 45 minutes later. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)  (The Associated Press)

The Confederate flag has been temporarily removed from in front of the South Carolina Statehouse.

An unidentified black woman was about halfway up the more than 30-foot steel flagpole just after dawn Saturday when State Capitol police told her to come down. Instead, she continued up and removed the flag before returning to the ground.

The woman and another man who had entered the wrought-iron fence surrounding the flag were arrested.

The flag, which is protected by state law, is expected to be raised again Saturday in time for a rally by flag supporters.

Calls for removing the flag have been renewed since a white man shot and killed nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina church last week.