Black activist Bree Newsome scaled flagpole at South Carolina's Capitol and took down Confederate flag (PHOTOS & VIDEO) #KeepItDown

Early on Saturday morning a black activist took matters into her own hands by scaling the flagpole at South Carolina's Capitol in Columbia and taking down the Confederate flag by herself.

The woman, Bree Newsome, 30, was about halfway up the more than 30-foot steel flagpole in front of the Statehouse 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.

While she was clinging to the pole with the flag in hand, Newsome shouted: 'You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence.

'I come against you in the name of God.

'This flag comes down today.'
As she calmly descended the pole and lowered the flag into the waiting arms of police, Newsome said 'the Lord is my light and my salvation' and announced she was prepared to be arrested.

Newsome, who was decked out in climbing gear and wore a helmet during her courageous climb, and a man, James Tyson, who entered the wrought-iron fence surrounding the flag were arrested.

The pair's full names are Brittany Ann Byuarim Newsome and James Ian Tyson.

They were charged with defacing a monument and taken to Richland County Jail, WLTX reported.

The misdemeanor crime is punishable by a fine or a maximum jail sentence of three years.

Tyson, also 30, is a political activist who has campaigned to save the rain forest and was part of the Occupy movement in Charlotte.

He was also on the government's terrorist watch list in 2007, according to CNN.

Onlookers who shot video of the climb applauded Newsome's efforts as she was being cuffed.

The flag, which is protected by South Carolina law, was raised again after about an hour by state workers.

It was not damaged during the incident.

Newsome calls herself a 'filmmaker, singer, songwriter and freedom fighter' on Twitter.

She graduated from New York University, has worked as an activist and youth organizer in North Carolina and was arrested during a sit-in at that state's Capitol during a voting rights protest.

An online petition has already been started to demand the charges be dropped.

Money is also being raised for Newsome and Tyson's bail and any extra money that is raised will go to relief efforts in Charleston.

In a statement on the petition website, she said: 'It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.'

Credit: SportsMail