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Police deploy around the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville
Police in riot gear deploy around the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" protests, in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Charlottesville to remove Confederate monuments Saturday

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A Confederate monument that helped spark a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville is set to come down Saturday, the city announced.

Charlottesville said in a news release that the equestrian statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as well as a nearby one of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson will be removed Saturday. Designated public viewing areas for the removals will be established in both parks where the statues are located, the news release said.

The development comes more than five years after a 2016 removal push focused on the Lee statue. As those plans emerged, the Lee monument became a rallying point for white supremacists and other racist groups, culminating in the violent “Unite the Right” rally in 2017.

Because of litigation and changes to a state law dealing with war memorials, the city had been unable to act until now.

Preparations around the parks will begin Friday and include the installation of protective fencing, according to the news release. The city said only the statuary will be removed for now. The stone bases will be left in place temporarily and removed later.

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