On Saturday, nearly four years after the incident of white supremacy, a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, was demolished. protest The plan to dismantle it led to conflict and a woman was killed.

Soon after the removal of the Lee statue, the statue of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was also removed from his base in another city park. When the statues were loaded into the truck and drove away, the onlookers who had gathered a few hours earlier cheered.

Dozens of spectators lined up in the blocks around the park. When the statue of Li was lifted off the pedestal, cheers rang out. There is an obvious presence of police, the streets are blocked by fences and heavy trucks, and vehicles are impassable.

Charlottesville Mayor Nikuya Walker said as a crane approached the monument: “The removal of this statue is one step closer to helping Charlottesville, Virginia and the United States, and trying to overcome the willingness to destroy black people for financial gain sin.”

After years of legal battles, the statue of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was demolished [Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters]

In recent years, statues commemorating the leaders of the Confederate side who supported slavery in the American Civil War have become the focus of protests against racism.

The University Town plans to demolish the statue of Li in 2017, which prompted Rally of white supremacists It became fatal when a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi drove a car into the crowd and killed Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counter-protester.

A few weeks later, the Charlottesville City Council unanimously ordered the removal of the Jackson statue.

Andy Gallagher of Al Jazeera said that the peaceful scene when the statue was demolished on Saturday-in stark contrast to what happened in Charlottesville four years ago-“Yes… It’s a victory for Charlottesville, and it’s a victory for those who are really running.”

“Things are going very well today, and I think Charlottesville has taken an important step forward,” Gallagher reported.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks U.S. far-right and white supremacist groups, Say Last month, since the fatal attack on a black church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, “333 symbols of white supremacy have disappeared across the country.”

But the organization stated that “more than 2,000 symbols of hatred still exist”.

‘long time no see’

Jotaka Eaddy, CEO of consulting firm Full Circle Strategies, said that the Confederate Monument is “a symbol of white supremacy and racism.”

Eddie told Al Jazeera on Saturday: “All these statues have been around for a long time, especially in Charlottesville,” and he called the removal of the Lee and Jackson statues “a step in the right direction.”

Citizens, including the Virginia branch, the son of a federal veteran, sued Charlottesville for the demolition plan. In April, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the city can remove the two Confederate statues, overturning the state circuit court’s decision to uphold the citizen suit.

Officials said in a statement on Friday that Charlottesville will keep the statues until a final decision is made on what to do with them.

A worker gestures while demolishing a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee [Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters]

Kristin Szakos, a member of the Charlottesville City Council who witnessed the removal of these statues, said, “People in this community have been trying to remove these statues for a hundred years.”

She added: “I think we are finally ready to become a community, it will not convey our attitude towards white supremacy through our public art.”

However, Eaddy of Full Circle Strategies stated that systemic racism continues to plague the country.

She pointed Extensive effort After the 2020 U.S. presidential election, restrict voting rights in a way that disproportionately affects blacks, and attempts to Prohibition of criticism of race theory, As a problem that must be solved.

“Its weakness is racism and white supremacy, and we must eradicate them, just as we must eliminate these symbols of hatred and racism in our country,” Eddie told Al Jazeera.


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