A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Va., has been vandalized a week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va..
The Associated Press reported that the statue, located on the city’s Monument Avenue, had red paint and the letters “BLM,” apparently referring to Black Lives Matter, painted on its base.
The Virginia Capitol Police believes the vandalism took place late Friday or early Saturday, according to the AP.
Statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee vandalized this morning on Monument Ave in Richmond, Virginia. pic.twitter.com/pRBCNhKoex— Erin Edgerton (@erineedgerton) August 4, 2018
The incident took place one week before the first anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville rally, which was organized to support a statue of Lee in the city.
One woman was killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters; the suspect has been charged with federal hate crimes.
Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, was one of several cities that conducted formal reviews of Confederate monuments following the rally.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) last year called the city’s monuments "shameful" relics "that we all disagree with."
A city commission recommended last month that Richmond remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but keep others — including the one of Lee — in place.
The group also recommended that historical context be added to the existing monuments, and that other statues be added that are “more inclusive” of Richmond’s history.