A worker gesture as he removes 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. Photograph:( Reuters )
Onlookers cheered as the statue was removed and driven away in a truck
A statue of US Confederate General Robert E Lee was removed in the city of Charlottsville, Virginia in the US. The statue had been at the centre of a deadly white supremacist rally in August 2017. There had been protests over plans to remove the statue. During the white supremacist protest four years ago, a woman was run down by a car and killed.
As the statue was removed and driven away in a truck, onlookers cheered. City authorities had welcomed viewers from 6 am to view the removal. The statue stood in the Market Street Park.
Statues of Confederate generals who fought for pro-slavery south during the American Civil War still evoke fierce reactions. Some say that the statues are part of American culture while others say that they are symbols of America's pro-slavery past.
The city's planned removal of the Lee statue in 2017 prompted a rally by neo-Nazis and white nationalists that turned deadly when a car driven into a crowd killed a counter-protester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Weeks later the Charlottesville city council unanimously ordered the Jackson statue to be removed.
Citizens including the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued Charlottesville over the removal plans. In April, Virginia's highest court ruled the city could remove the two Confederate statues, overturning a state Circuit Court decision that had upheld the citizen lawsuit.
The city installed protective fencing and designated no-parking zones around the parks in anticipation of Saturday's removals, according to a Friday statement.
Asked whether the city was aware of any planned protests, Wheeler said, "an indication of how we feel about this is, we're inviting the public to join us in the park."
"We think a lot of our community members really want to be there to see this happen."
(With inputs from agencies)