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Charlottesville removes two Confederate statues as onlookers cheer

Machinery first lifted the statue of Robert E. Lee in Market Street Park from its stone base shortly after eight a.m. A statue of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was faraway from Court Square Park practically two hours later.

A crowd that gathered to look at clapped and cheered each instances.

Both statues will probably be positioned in storage. The stone bases will probably be left in place and eliminated later.

“(Removing the statues) is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia, and America grapple with its sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gains,” Mayor Nikuyah Walker instructed reporters shortly earlier than the Lee statue was lifted.

“It is my hope that we stop taking these steps in 100-year increments and increase the frequency (of) bold daily action and critical examination of accurate history, even when it denounces whiteness as supreme,” she stated.

The metropolis stated it’s in search of a brand new residence for the statues at a museum, army battlefield or historic society. The metropolis has obtained 10 expressions of curiosity — six from out of state and 4 in Virginia, the information launch stated.

The City Council voted June 7 to take away the statues following a court docket battle of greater than three years.

In 2016, then-high college pupil Zyahna Bryant began a petition to get the statues eliminated. On Saturday, on the information convention with the mayor, Bryant referred to as the removals effectively overdue.

“This should have happened a long time ago,” Bryant stated.

“To the young people out there, I hope that this empowers you to pick up on the issues that matter, and to take charge in your own cities and communities,” Bryant added.

The council first voted in February 2017 to take away the statues, a call that sparked the anger of Virginians with Confederate roots and White nationalist teams.

The “Unite the Right” rallies of August 11-12, 2017, introduced hundreds of protesters to Charlottesville, many bearing Confederate and neo-Nazi symbolism, to protest the removing of the statues.

One White supremacist killed a counterprotester, Heather Heyer, and injured 19 others when he plowed his automobile right into a crowd. Many extra have been injured in separate incidents throughout the weekend rally.
In October 2017, two months after the rally, a circuit court docket decide dominated in opposition to eradicating the statues from public areas, saying that they have been protected by a state statute that barred the removing of “memorials and monuments to past wars,” court docket paperwork present.
But in April 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia overturned that call. Both monuments have been erected within the 1920s however the state legislation defending monuments was enacted in 1997, and “had no retroactive applicability and did not apply to statues erected by independent cities prior to 1997,” the opinion reads.

CNN’s Chris Boyette and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.

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