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NC governor orders Confederate monuments removed from Capitol property

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced Saturday he is removing all Confederate monuments from Capitol grounds after demonstrators toppled two statues there. 

“I have ordered the Confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds be moved to protect public safety. I am concerned about the dangerous efforts to pull down and carry off large, heavy statues and the strong potential for violent clashes at the site,” Cooper tweeted.

“Monuments to white supremacy don’t belong in places of allegiance, and it’s past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way,” he added.

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The move comes as nationwide protests continue over systemic racism and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

Activists and demonstrators across the country have called for Confederate statues and monuments to be taken down, and lawmakers in Washington are currently debating what to do with such statues on Capitol Hill.

Cooper’s announcement comes after protesters toppled two monuments outside the North Carolina Capitol on Friday night.

Cooper in 2017 called for Confederate monuments on state Capitol grounds to be moved to museums or historical sites and has advocated for the repeal of a law that creates legal obstacles to taking down the monuments.

“If the legislature had repealed their 2015 law that puts up legal roadblocks to removal we could have avoided the dangerous incidents of last night,” he said.