Kentucky mayor announces removal of Confederate statues in wake of Charlottesville
© Getty Images

The mayor of Lexington, Ky., is accelerating his plans to remove Confederate statues from key locations in the city due to violence spurred by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. 

"I am taking action to relocate the Confederate statues. We have thoroughly examined this issue, and heard from many of our citizens," Mayor Jim Gray (D) said on Twitter. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week," he continued.  

Gray said he is looking to remove Confederate statues at the city's Historic Courthouse, which will be the city's new visitors center.

The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week.

Gray's announcement comes after a day of violence was sparked in Charlottesville after white supremacists protested the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

White nationalist, white supremacist and alt-right groups were initially scheduled to gather in Charlottesville's Emancipation Park Saturday to protest the city's decision to remove the Confederate statue there. 

But as clashes broke out ahead of the so-called "Unite the Right" rally Saturday morning, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, breaking up the event before it officially began.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) confirmed three deaths in Charlottesville on Saturday. One person died after a car mowed down a group of counter-protesters. Two Virginia State Police Department pilots were killed in a nearby helicopter crash. 

McAuliffe had declared a state of emergency for the city after clashes between white nationalist and Nazi groups and counter-protesters.

--This report was updated on Aug. 13 at 6:41 a.m.