Engineers in Charlottesville, Virginia worked to remove a 900lb Confederate statue on Saturday, a moment of symbolic reckoning in the university town that was rocked by a white supremacist march in August 2017.
The statue taken down was not that of Robert E Lee, which extremists said they were defending in clashes which led to the murder of a counter-protester. Instead, Charlottesville removed a bronze figure of a Confederate soldier, known as “At Ready”, that has stood for 111 years outside the Albemarle county courthouse.
Around 100 people cheered from behind barricades as bronze plaques were taken off the sides of the monument and a cannon was removed, the Washington Post reported. Police stood by.
“This is a magnificent moment,” community organizer Don Gathers, 61, told the Post. “Much of the racial tension, strife and protest we’re seeing across the country emanates from right here in Charlottesville. But now we’re moving the needle in a positive way.”