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As announced in a press release, the bronze statues of Robert E. Lee and Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson will be removed on Saturday. Temporary fencing has already been erected around the statues, and there will be designated viewing areas for the removals at both parks in which the statues currently sit. While the statues will be removed this weekend, the stone bases will be removed at a later date.
“During the past month, the city has solicited for expressions of interest from any museum, historical society, government or military battlefield interested in acquiring the statues, or either of them, for relocation and placement,” the press release reads. “The Charlottesville city manager has received ten responses thus far–six out of state and four in-state–that are all under review. The city remains open to additional expressions of interest.”
The announcement comes over five years after the city council first received a petition to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee, which in turn prompted alt-right figures, white supremacists, and neo-nazis to organize the 2017 Unite the Right rally. The organizers of the protest, which included neo-nazis Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, opposed the removal of the statue. One person at the rally, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed when a white supremacist protester drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.