Protesters call for the Confederate floag to
Protesters call for the Confederate flag to be removed from outside the Columbia Capitol buildingGetty Images

Amazon is the latest, and largest, US retailer to dump its line of Confederate flag merchandise in the wake of the mass killing at a South Carolina church that has suddenly turned the banner radioactive.

The mega-seller has joined Wal-Mart, Sears, eBay and Target in a rush to rid themselves of anything connected to the banner of the slave-holding Civil War South following a surge of controversy over the flag.

Sales of the flag spiked on Amazon before it joined the other retailers with flag purchases taking first, second, and third place on the site's list of biggest sales gainers in the previous 24 hours, reports NBC. Georgia-based Ruffin Flag Company watched it sales of its Confederate flag surge 2,305% to top Amazon's patio, lawn and garden "movers & shakers" list.

The Confederate flag has "become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism," eBay spokeswoman Johnna Hoff told CNN. The company is banning the sale of Confederate flags and "many items containing this image," she said.

Wal-Mart never wanted to offend with the products it offers

As for Wal-Mart, "we never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer," said spokesman Brian Nick. "We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment -- whether in our stores or on our web site."

Wal-Mart had been carrying the flag as well as wearables featuring the flag's design, including T-shirts and belt buckles. EBay was offering flag-design jewellery and handbags, and Amazon had the flag and Confederate-design folding knives, T-shirts, blankets and shower curtains.

The banner, which is widely seen throughout the South, became toxic after a widely circulated photo revealed 21-year-old gunman Dylann Roof holding the flag. Roof has been charged in the shooting death of nine black parishioners in an African American church in Charleston. He has said he was out to start a race war with the attack.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is calling for removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds, and President Obama has said it's time for the flags to be relegated to museums only.

Ruffin Flag Company, the Georgia-based manufacturer that's saw sales of its Confederate flag surge 2,305 percent to top Amazon's patio, lawn and garden Movers & Shakers list,