A Confederate monument that helped spark a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, will be taken down this weekend. The city said in a news release that the equestrian statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as well as a nearby one of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson will be removed Saturday, per the AP. Designated public viewing areas for the removals will be established in both parks where the statues are located. The development comes more than five years after a removal push focused on the Lee statue bubbled up in 2016. As those plans evolved, the monument unveiled in 1924 became a rallying point for white supremacists and other racist groups, culminating in the violent “Unite the Right” rally in 2017.
Neo-Nazi groups brawled in the streets with counter-protesters as police largely stood by and watched, scenes of intense violence that shocked the nation. A short time later, an avowed white supremacist and admirer of Adolf Hitler intentionally plowed his car into a crowd of people, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and leaving others with life-altering injuries. The city still wanted the statues gone after the rally, but because of litigation and changes to a state law dealing with war memorials, officials had been unable to act until now. Both statues will be stored in a secure location on city property until the City Council makes a final decision on what to do with them.
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