A controversial statue was removed on Saturday in Charlottesville in the southern US state of Virginia. Plans to remove this memorial to General Robert E. Lee from its plinth led to violent clashes between supporters and opponents about four years ago. A neo-Nazi drove into a group of anti-racism demonstrators, killing a female protester.
Work to remove the statue began early Saturday morning (local time), writing American media. A second memorial, to General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, will also be removed during the day. Both men fought for the preservation of slavery during the American Civil War (1861-1865). The Supreme Court ruled in April that the city authorities can remove the two images.
There are hundreds of memorials in the United States that commemorate figures who played a prominent role in slavery. Some Americans consider these statues important historical heritage and part of Southern culture, while others see it as racist tribute. In 2017, one of these controversial statues, by Robert E. Lee, was at the center of a conflict between nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right movement on the one hand, and anti-racism protesters on the other. Far-right James Field killed peaceful protestor Heather Heyer at that meeting in Charlottesville and was sentenced to life in prison.
Also read this report from 2018: A year after Charlottesville, ‘alt-right’ is a meaningful phenomenon