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confederate statues removal

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Statues of Christopher Columbus and Confederate leaders have been torn down in several states, as pressure grows on authorities to remove monuments connected to slavery and colonialism.

In Richmond, Virginia, statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled on June 10.

Statues of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in Boston, Miami and Virginia have been vandalized.

The movement has been sparked by the death in police custody of African American George Floyd.

George Floy’s death in Minneapolis has led to protests in the US and internationally against police brutality and racial inequality.

Memorials to the Confederacy, a group of southern states that fought to keep black people as slaves in the American Civil War of 1861-1865, have been among those targeted.

A number of Confederate statues on Monument Avenue in Richmond have been marked with graffiti during the protests.

Richmond also saw a statue of Columbus pulled down, set alight and thrown into a lake earlier this week.

A 10ft tall bronze statue of Columbus was toppled in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on June 10.

The Columbus statue in Boston, which stands on a plinth at the heart of town, was beheaded.

Many people in the US celebrate the memory of Columbus, who in school textbooks is credited with discovering “the New World”, the Americas, in the 15th Century.

However, Native American activists have long objected to honoring Columbus, saying that his expeditions to the Americas led to the colonization and genocide of their ancestors.

The death of George Floyd, whose neck was kneeled on by a police officer for nearly nine minutes, has spurred global protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many cities and organizations have taken steps to remove Confederate symbols, which have long stirred controversy because of their association with racism. 

Image source Wikimedia

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Last week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee would be removed from Richmond.

However, a judge has since granted a temporary injunction stopping the removal.

Stock-car racing organizers Nascar announced on June 10 it was banning Confederate flags, frequently seen at races.

President Trump meanwhile rejected calls to rename military bases named after Confederate generals, saying they remain part of America’s heritage.

The president tweeted: “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

On June, President Trump renewed threats to take federal action against local protesters occupying public spaces.

In a pointed exchange on Twitter, the president demanded that the mayor of Seattle “take back your city” from protesters, whom he called anarchists and domestic terrorists.

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President Donald Trump has denounced the removal of “beautiful” Confederate statues amid a heated national debate about US race relations.

He tweeted: “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.”

“You can’t change history, but you can learn from it,” the president continued.

President Trump drew outrage by defending organizers of a white supremacist rally that left one person dead and dozens hurt.

The rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, supported by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, was in protest of the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the Civil War.

The protest turned deadly when a driver ploughed into a crowd of counter protesters, inflicting fatal injuries on Heather Heyer.

Image source Wikipedia

Charlottesville Violence: Steve Bannon Attacks White Nationalists as “Clowns”

Charlottesville Protests: Donald Trump Condemns Racist Violence

Charlottesville Protests: Donald Trump Now Blames Violence on Both Sides

In a series of tweets on August 17, President Trump said: “Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”

“The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

The recent removal of controversial statues, including some to leaders of the pro-slavery rebellion defeated in the US Civil War, has been the latest flashpoint in racial tensions across the country.

Critics say monuments to the Confederacy are racially offensive, but supporters say they are important symbols preserving Southern heritage.

On August 17, Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, said that taking down Confederate statues is “just like” removing a monument to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

However, relatives of Stonewall Jackson, a Confederate leader President Trump mentioned in his tweets, wrote an open letter to the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, urging him to remove the statue of their great-great-grandfather and all other Confederate statues in town.

Jack and Warren Christian, Stonewall Jackson’s great-great-sons, said removing the statues would “further difficult conversations about racial justice”.

“While we are not ashamed of our great-great-grandfather, we are ashamed to benefit from white supremacy while our black family and friends suffer,” the pair wrote.

“We are ashamed of the monument.”

Robert E. Lee V, the great-great-grandson of the famous Confederate general, also issued a statement condemning the violence in the wake of the statue removals.

Donald Trump’s comments came after a week of turmoil over his response to the violent clashes in Charlottesville.

The president was criticized for blaming both sides for the violence, but belatedly condemned the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups on August 14.

During a heated news conference on August 15, President Trump backtracked and again blamed left-wing counter-protesters for the incident, too.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the upper chamber, said in an interview with Vice News that President Trump’s “moral authority” had been “compromised”.

“I’m not going to defend the indefensible… [Donald Trump’s] comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong,” Senator Scott said.

“What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised.”

Amid the fallout over President Trump’s response, corporate leaders and CEOs began resigning from two White House business councils.

On August 16, the Strategy and Policy Forum announced it would disband as Presidnet Trump said he would end the council as well as a manufacturing one.

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