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Four Confederate monuments have been removed by the University of Texas overnight in the wake of violent clashes in Charlottesville earlier this month.

A statue of General Robert E. Lee was among those taken down from the Austin campus on August 21.

Monuments to Confederate figures are symbols of “modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism”, the college said.

Heather Heyer’s death at a far-right rally in Charlottesville has reignited debate over America’s racial legacy.

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves said on August 20: “Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation.

“These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

Image source Wikimedia

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As well Gen Robert E. Lee, who was military commander during the 1861-1865 American Civil War, a statue of another rebel general, Albert Sidney Johnston, and of Confederate postmaster John H. Reagan were taken down.

They were moved to a centre for American history on campus.

A statue of Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg, who served from 1891 to 1895, was also removed and will be considered for re-installation at another site.

“The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history,” Greg Fenves continued.

“But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres.”

The university removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its campus in 2015 following a mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Greg Fenves added that he spoke with members of faculty, students and alumni following the deadly demonstrations in Virginia.

Dozens of schools and local governments have begun removing statues dedicated to the Confederacy, which was a pro-slavery rebellion against the federal government.

It follows violent clashes at a march on August 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists and neo-Nazis protested against the removal of a monument of General Lee.

Last week, four Confederate-era statues were taken down in Baltimore, Maryland, while the governors of Virginia and North Carolina have ordered the removal of similar monuments in their states.

Recent removals of Confederate statues has sparked backlash among an outspoken group of Americans who view the statues as symbols of US history and southern culture.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the debate on August 17, tweeting that controversial monuments are “beautiful”, adding that they would be “greatly missed” from US cities.


Tens of thousands of anti-racism protesters have marched against the “Free Speech” rally in Boston that featured right-wing speakers.

The rally on Boston Common, which attracted only a small crowd, disbanded early and the participants were escorted out by police.

The conservative rally organizers had said they would not give a platform to racism or bigotry.

Tensions are high after violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virgina, last weekend turned deadly.

Up to 30,000 people attended the counter-protest, The Boston Herald reported. Demonstrators had gathered at a Boston sports centre and then marched en masse to the common.

Many wore stickers with the face of Heather Heyer, who died when a car was driven into a crowd of counter-protesters at last Saturday’s far-right rally in Charlottesville.

Image source Getty Images

The crowd chanted “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascists in the USA!” and carried banners with slogans such as “Stop pretending your racism is patriotism”.

Hundreds of police, many on cycles, were deployed but no violence was reported. Large vehicles were positioned along with concrete barriers to prevent access to the park.

The organizers of the rally said that “misinformation in the media” was “likening our organization to those that ran the Charlottesville rally”.

“While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry,” the group wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to the event.

“We denounce the politics of supremacy and violence.”

The list of speakers for the free speech event changed a number of times in previous days. At times it included speakers who have been associated with the far right.

The violence in Charlottesville began with a protest and counter-protest over the planned removal of a statue of Confederate commander General Robert E. Lee.

In the aftermath, Confederate statues across America have come under renewed scrutiny.

On August 19, Duke University in North Carolina removed a statue of Robert E. Lee from its chapel entrance, following vandalism earlier in the week.