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Confederate Monument That Sparked Deadly Charlottesville Rally To Be Removed Saturday

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is shown in Market Street Park July 9, 2021 in Charlottesville, Va. The statute, along with another of Gen. Stonewall Jackson, will be removed Saturday.
A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is shown in Market Street Park July 9, 2021 in Charlottesville, Va. The statute, along with another of Gen. Stonewall Jackson, will be removed Saturday.

The statue of Robert E. Lee that sparked the deadly Unite the Right rally four years ago in Charlottesville, Va., will be removed Saturday, the city council announced Friday.

Along with it, another statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson that sits nearby will also be removed, though the stone bases of both statues will remain for now. Fencing around both monuments was set up Friday afternoon.

What will happen to the statues after they are removed, though, is still unknown.

"City Council has the sole authority to determine the ultimate, final disposition of the statues," the city said in a statement. "The City Manager is not authorized to destroy the statues or to sell them without further action by City Council."

The two statues will be stored in a secure location on city property until the council makes a final decision, it said.

The city said it has asked museums, historical societies and battlefields about acquiring the statues for relocation. It said it has received interest from 10 groups — six out of state and four in Virginia.

The debate over what to do with the Confederate statues in Charlottesville started in 2016 and led to neo-Nazis gathering in the city for what turned into a deadly rally. Protester Heather Heyer was killed and dozens of other people were injured.

Since then, the city announced its intent to remove the statues pending a lawsuit. In April, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city. Earlier this week, the city council allocated $1 million to remove, cover and store the Lee and Jackson statues as well as a statue depicting Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Similar lawsuits have also centered around Virginia's capital city of Richmond where several monuments have been removed along the prominent Monument Avenue. But despite Mayor Levar Stoney's intent to remove it last summer, the six-story-tall statue of Robert E. Lee that towers over the city is still caught up in a lawsuit, and remains standing.

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