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Robert E Lee statue becomes epicenter of protest movement

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Just a little over a month ago, the area around Richmond's iconic statue of Confederate Gen Robert E Lee was as quiet and sedate as the statue itself.

But since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the area has been transformed into a bustling hub of activity for demonstrators protesting against police brutality and racism.

The giant concrete pedestal of the statue is now covered by colorful graffiti, with many of the hand-painted messages denouncing police and demanding an end to systemic racism and inequality. Clashes between police and protesters gathered near the statue have become a regular occurrence.

In response to the protests, Virginia Gov Ralph Northam has pledged to take down the statue. But its removal has been at least temporarily blocked by a lawsuit, one of several complaints filed by people who want the monument to stay where it has stood since it was erected in 1890 in this former capital of the Confederacy.

The statue is located on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, a boulevard of stately homes that also features several other Confederate monuments targeted for removal.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, work crews used giant cranes, harnesses and power tools to remove imposing statues of Gen Stonewall Jackson and Navy officer Matthew Fontaine Maury from their........

© Japan Today