Confederate monuments targeted during protests in multiple states

Confederate monuments targeted during protests in multiple states
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Protesters have targeted Confederate monuments in multiple states during the demonstrations against the death of George Floyd.

Monuments in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi were defaced with spray paint as protests heated up Saturday into Sunday across the country.

At least two of the five statues along Richmond, Va.’s Monument Avenue, representing Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart,  were covered in graffiti. The monument dedicated to Confederate President Jefferson Davis was covered with the sentence “cops ran us over” on its base and had a noose over its shoulder. 

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In the state capital, protesters also attacked the building of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group that helps put up the monuments and challenges those who attempt to remove it. The building endured a fire and graffiti, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Demonstrators reportedly climbed a monument in Norfolk, Va and covered it with graffiti, according to The Virginian-Pilot. 

In Mississippi, a Confederate monument on the University of Mississippi’s campus that was once central to the anti-integration movement was accompanied by the words “spiritual genocide” in black spray paint with red handprints. The university said it had taken a suspect into custody, The Oxford Eagle reported

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The base of a Confederate statue near the Battery in Charleson, S.C., was scrawled with the words “BLM” and “traitors,” among other spray paint, before the monument was covered by a tarp, ABC affiliate WCIV reported. Two men worked on cleaning the statue while others stood watch as protests continued.

In North Carolina, a Confederate monument at the State Capitol was marked with an X and a shorthand for a phrase condemning police, according to a photo tweeted by a News & Observer reporter.

Chattanooga, Tenn.’s statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. Alexander P Stewart was also covered in spray paint, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The protests and defacement come as advocates have questioned the appropriateness of Confederate monuments’ placements in recent years. The monuments’ defenders have said the statues preserve the history of slavery.

North Carolina’s Confederate monuments are protected by law, which prompted a legal battle over the “Silent Sam” statue on the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus. Last November, the statue was given to Confederate descendants and moved off campus, The Associated Press reported

In 2017, a white nationalist rally erupted in Charlottesville, Va., over the proposed removal of a Confederate statue, which resulted in one person’s death. 

Cities have seen a wave of protests after video emerged last week showing a former officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes as he says he cannot breathe and becomes unresponsive. Floyd died in police custody shortly after the video was taken.