Charlottesville (Virginia) [US], July 11 (ANI): The US on Saturday morning (local time) removed the two bronze statues of Confederate Generals Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson in Charlottesville, Virginia.
As per ABC News, onlookers cheered the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Market Street Park around 8 am and two hours later, the statue of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was removed from Court Square Park.
The statues were at the center of a years-long debate. Its removal comes more than five years after the first effort to remove the Lee statue.
A year later, the monument became a gathering point for white supremacists who decried the proposal at the "Unite the Right" rally in August 2017, which led to rioting and left one woman dead, reported ABC News.
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker shared a speech before the removal, praising the move.
"Taking down this statue is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia, and America, grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain," she said.
White House spokesperson Emilie Simons tweeted that President Joe Biden also agreed with the removal of the statues.
"There is a difference between reminders and remembrances of history," she wrote. "The President believes that monuments to Confederate leaders belong in museums, not in public places, and welcomes the removal of the statues today."
Only the statues themselves were removed Saturday; the stone bases will be left in place temporarily and removed at a later date, reported ABC News.
The city also removed a statue depicting Sacagawea with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The statue was criticized for showing Lewis and Clark standing proudly while Sacagawea cowered behind them.
The city council voted 5-0 to remove the statue on Saturday, saying the speed with which the Confederate statues were removed opened the possibility for the Lewis and Clark statue to also be taken down, reported ABC News.
The council met with Native American delegations in November 2019, which asked for the statue to be removed.
The removal comes following a resolution passed by the Charlottesville City Council on June 7, which authorized the city manager to remove the statues for placement in storage.
Both statues will be stored in a secure location on city property until a final decision on their fate is made, reported ABC News.
Confederate statues have become a contentious issue across the US in recent years, as left-leaning groups say they are the remnants of a horrid past of slavery while white nationalists rally to protect the statues. (ANI)