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Jacksonville, Fla., mayor announces removal of Confederate statue, more to follow amid protests

Jacksonville, Fla., mayor announces removal of Confederate statue, more to follow amid protests
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The city of Jacksonville, Fla., has removed a statue of a Confederate soldier from the city’s Hemming Park ahead of a planned protest near the monument.

Workers removed the monument early Tuesday morning, hours before Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette planned to lead a protest outside City Hall directly next to the park, according to the Florida Times-Union.

The demonstrators are protesting against police brutality, racial injustice and the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a now-former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day.

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Mayor Lenny Curry (R) announced at the beginning of the march that the city would also remove other Confederate symbols.

“The Confederate monument is gone. And the others in this city will be removed as well,” Curry said. “We hear your voices. We have heard your voices.”

Curry previously said he would not weigh in on the removal of the statue in 2017 after City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche called for its removal following the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., where one counterprotester died and 19 others were injured. 

Brosche later proposed installing a monument to lynching victims next to the monument, which was defeated by the council in 2018.

The mayor said last week he was “listening and seeking wisdom” regarding racial issues in the community, vowing last week to participate in the march.

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Numerous cities and municipalities have removed or announced the removal of monuments to Confederates following the eruption of protests against Floyd's death nationwide.

The statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee was taken down in Richmond, Va., as were depictions of other figures associated with institutional racism such as former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo (D) in the Pennsylvania city, after they became a target for defacement during protests.

Outside the U.S., protesters have toppled statues of figures such as slave trader Edward Colston in the U.K. and King Leopold II of Belgium, believed to have killed up to 10 million people in what is now Congo.