Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has taken down Stonewall Jackson. The towering statue of the Confederate general was removed from Monument Avenue on Wednesday, hours after the Virginia city's Democratic mayor invoked emergency powers to order the immediate removal of all Confederate statues on city land, CNN reports. Stoney said he was moving quickly because protesters in other cities had already been injured trying to take down statues themselves, reports the AP. "Failing to remove the statues now poses a severe, immediate, and growing threat to public safety," he said. The mayor said it would take several days to remove the dozen or so Confederate statues on public land in the former capital of the Confederacy.
"It is past time," Stoney said in an address. "As the capital city of Virginia, we have needed to turn this page for decades. And today, we will." Virginia passed a law Wednesday allowing cities to remove Confederate monuments after a 60-day process, but the mayor said he had to act faster to protect the public. A crowd of hundreds cheered when the statue of Jackson was lifted off its base after workers spent hours loosening bolts and attaching chains, the Washington Post reports. A spokesman for the mayor says the Monument Avenue memorials to Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart, and Matthew Fontaine Maury will be next to go. Protesters toppled the statue of Davis, the former Confederate president, in June, but the rest of the monument remains. (Read more Confederate statues stories.)