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Virginia removes Confederate General’s statue from capital city

The state’s Supreme Court ruled last week the monument could be taken down.

IANS | Washington |

Virginia has removed a 131-year-old statue of Confederate General Robert Lee, one of the US state’s largest and most recognisable symbols of Confederate history from its capital city of Richmond.

Some people wearing Black Lives Matter shirts chanted “Hey hey hey, goodbye” as crews on Wednesday removed the 12-tonne statue from its 40-foot pedestal, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Virginia Department of General Services is expected to cut the statue into three parts and store it in a state-run storage facility until a decision on its disposition is made, according to a USA Today report.

The Lee statue was the only monument on the avenue that was state-owned.

The rest of the Confederate memorials were owned by the city of Richmond, and they were taken down shortly after a law was enacted allowing localities to decide the ultimate fate of Confederate statues and monuments on public property, said the report.

The statue was once the centrepiece of Richmond’s Monument Avenue and the road’s last remaining Confederate memorial following a citywide movement to take the statues down last year.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced plans to remove the statue in June 2020 during the height of demonstrations crying for racial justice.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday evening, Northam said: “Finally-Virginia and Monument Avenue have moved beyond celebrating the Confederate insurrection. We can all look forward to seeing Virginia’s history remembered in a way that reflects who we are in the 21st century.”

The state’s Supreme Court ruled last week the monument could be taken down.