Black Lives Matter activists in Richmond, Virginia, projected the LGBTQ rainbow flag and images of prominent African Americans onto the image of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, depicting Lee on a horse, has been the scene of massive protests since George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American male, died in custody with the Minneapolis Police Department.
Four officers, including one who knelt in the neck for nearly nine minutes, have been charged.
People gather around a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia
The Virginia governor has ordered the monument to be demolished, but a judge put those plans on hold after a lawsuit was filed to block the move
Since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis Police on May 25, the statue has attracted protesters in Richmond
Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests as millions took to the streets, calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
The incident also sparked debate about the future of Southern statues and monuments, as well as other memorials to controversial figures in American history who owned slaves.
Democratic governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the 12-ton, 61ft tall equestrian statue of Lee, the most respected Southern of all, last week, but a judge blocked such action for at least 10 days on Monday.
Sons of Confederate Veterans Virginia spokesman, B. Frank Earnest, condemned the overthrow of “public works of art” and compared the loss of the Southern statues to the loss of a family member.
Black Lives Matter protesters projected the colors of the LGTBQ rainbow flag onto the monument
Activists have also projected the letters ‘BLM’ onto the statue of Lee, depicted on a horse
Activists have also projected the images of prominent African American activists, including the late black nationalist leader Malcolm X
The parable of George Floyd can be seen above, projected on the statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday
Activists also projected the image of Angela Davis, the former far-left activist author and speaker
“The men who served under Robert E. Lee were my great-grandfathers or their brothers and nephews. So it’s my family, ”he said.
What if a crowd from another group went and found the symbols of someone they didn’t like and decided to break down? Everyone would be upset. ‘
He added, “I don’t know why it is acceptable, why people descended from the Confederate Army and Confederate Soldiers are accepted in this country that you can do anything you want.”
Black Lives Matter activists projected the ‘BLM’ letters on the image on Friday. The LGBTQ pride flag and the likeness of prominent black activists such as Angela Davis and Malcolm X were also projected onto the monument.
Protesters also projected images of blacks murdered by the police and others, including Floyd and Trayvon Martin.
Martin was the Florida teenager who was shot and murdered by a security guard in 2012.
Demonstrators downed an ancient statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond on Thursday, which is also the former capital of the Confederacy, and added it to the list of Old South monuments removed after Floyd’s death in the US or damaged.
The 8ft bronze figure on Richmond’s large Monument Avenue was nearly marked for removal by city leaders within months, but protesters took matters into their own hands Wednesday night, tied ropes around his legs and threw it from his stone pedestal onto the pavement.
The image of Trayvon Martin, the young black man who was shot and killed by a security guard in Florida in 2012, was also projected onto the image
Activists also projected the image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the murdered civil rights leader, on the picture
Democratic Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the 12-ton high, 61-foot tall equestrian statue of Lee, the most respected Southern of all, last week, but a judge on Monday blocked such action for at least ten days
A crowd cheered and the police watched as the monument – installed by a Southern heritage group in 1907 – was towed away.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney recently announced that he would introduce an ordinance in July to remove the Davis monument and statues from other Southern states, including Gens. Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart.
A new state law coming into effect this summer will undo the protection of Southern monuments and allow local governments to decide what to do with it.
Stoney tweeted on Thursday that he will insist on dismantling the other monuments soon. Both he and the governor have asked protesters not to do it themselves.
“For the sake of public safety, I ask the community to allow us legally to have the others removed professionally, to avoid any potential damage that could result from attempts to remove them without professional experience,” said Stoney.
Large crowds of protesters were seen near the statue on Saturday. Sons of Confederate Veterans Virginia spokesman, B. Frank Earnest, condemned the overthrow of “public artwork” and compared the loss of the Southern statues to the loss of a family member
Protesters carry signs and sing slogans at the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday
Protesters can be seen above with a sign that reads’ No justice, no peace! Black Lives Matter! in Richmond on Saturday
Several protesters were spotted at the base of the statue in Richmond, Virginia on Saturday
A close-up of the statue of Robert E. Lee can be seen in the above Saturday image in Richmond, Virginia
Speaker Sherri Robinson sings “bring down this statue” to protesters during a demonstration against racial inequality in Richmond on Saturday
On Friday, the crews removed a 113-year-old statue of a Southern soldier standing atop an 80-foot-high Southern monument in central Norfolk, Virginia.
The city said in a statement on Friday that the statue, nicknamed Johnny Reb, came down in less than two hours.
The 15ft figure was removed from public safety concerns.
A demonstrator had sustained life-threatening injuries in the neighboring city of Portsmouth after protesters knocked down a confederate statue in that city on Wednesday.
Norfolk City Councilors passed a resolution expressing their desire to have the statue removed after a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
But a state law protecting memorials to war veterans prohibited Norfolk from doing so.
That law was rewritten earlier this year by the new democratic majority in the General Assembly and gives municipalities the opportunity to decide what to do with monuments.
Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander acknowledged that the new version will only come into effect on July 1, but said he thinks public security trumps.
He said the remaining pieces of the column would be removed in the coming weeks.