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The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, officially removed its statues of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on Saturday.
Viewing areas for the removal of the statues were erected so that bystanders could watch cranes lift the statues from their plinth blocks; the process was nearly complete just before 9 a.m.
Workers remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, after years of a legal battle over the contentious monument, in Charlottesville, Virginia, the U.S, July 10, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
Photos and videos posted to social media show a crowd gathered to watch the process on Saturday morning.
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker spoke at Saturday’s gathering, calling the removal “one small step forward” in an effort to dismantle White supremacy, according to VPM reporter Ben Paviour.
Initial plans to remove the Lee statue came about in 2016, prompting White supremacists and other extremist groups to use the monument as a focal point for events such as the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally.
The statues will be held on Charlottesville property until they are sold, according to a Thursday press release from the city.
Because of litigation and changes to a state law dealing with war memorials, the city had been unable to act until now.
Preparations around the parks will begin Friday and include the installation of protective fencing, according to the news release. The city said only the statuary will be removed for now. The stone bases will be left in place temporarily and removed later.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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