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article imageConfederate statues on city land in Richmond to be removed

By Karen Graham     Jul 1, 2020 in Politics
Richmond - Richmond, Virginia Mayor, Lemar Stoney on Wednesday ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate statues on city land, saying he was using his emergency powers to speed up the healing process for the former capital of the Confederacy.
"Fellow Richmonders, today I order the immediate removal of Confederate monuments from their pedestals," Mayor Levar Stoney (D) said in an address announcing the order, noting that city officials had already begun the process of removing monuments to former Confederate leaders, reports The Hill.
Stoney's decision comes weeks after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the most prominent and imposing Confederate statue along Richmond’s Monument Avenue, that of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which sits on state land. However, Northam's order was stalled after a number of residents sued to block its removal.
The lawsuit alleges its removal would adversely affect the plaintiffs by nullifying the neighborhood's status as a National Historic Landmark district, resulting in "the loss of favorable tax treatment and reduction in property values," according to CNN.
Stoney said the removal of the monuments would be carried out over the next several days. He pointed to the protests across the nation while announcing the order, saying that "failing to remove the statues now poses a severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety."
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“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and protesters attempt to take down Confederate statues themselves or confront others who are also doing so, the risk grows for serious illness, injury, or death,” Stoney said. Hundreds of protesters have held demonstrations in the city for the last 33 days.
Stoney's move also comes on the day a new law went into effect, giving localities the ability to remove or alter Confederate monuments in their communities, per the Associated Press. The law outlines the removal process that would take at least 60 days to unfold.
“Today, I have the ability to do this through my emergency powers,” Stoney said. “I think we need to act today.” About an hour later, work crews were spotted near the Jackson statue.
And today, the monument to Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, has finally come down. Onlookers watched as crews removed the statue of the late slave owner who fought to preserve slavery begin to come down after standing in the city for more than 100 years.
More about Richmond Virginia, Mayor Levar Stoney, confederate statues, emergency powers, threat to public safety
 
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