Charleston pays tribute to church shooting victims

The names of the nine parishioners murdered during a bible study in South Carolina were read out in a service as the church where the brutal shooting took place reopened today.

The service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston was held before a packed congregation as the city prepares for several events today to show solidarity with the victim's families and friends.

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports:

More: Funeral announced for church pastor murdered in Charleston

Church-goers who cannot fit into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church stand in the street. Credit: Reuters

People are also planning to join hands and form a peace chain along a bridge connecting Charleston to one of its suburbs.

Protesters on the streets of Columbia Credit: Reuters

The reopening comes as thousands of people took to the streets in South Carolina's capitol, Columbiato protest against the Confederate flag that has become a target of anger following the shooting.

The Confederate flag has long been a divisive symbol in the United States and the two Republicans' calls for its removal could signal a shift in a country where the vast majority of black Americans vote Democratic.

The man charged over the killings, Dylann Roof, 21, held the Confederate flag in a photograph on a website and displayed the flags of defeated white-supremacist governments in Africa on his Facebook page.

More: The victims of the Charleston church shooting