RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was torn down along Richmond, Virginia’s famed Monument Avenue on Wednesday night by protesters.
The statue in the former capital of the Confederacy was toppled shortly before 11 p.m. and was on the ground in the middle of an intersection, news outlets reported.Richmond police were on the scene.
About 80 miles away, protesters in Portsmouth beheaded and then pulled down four statues that were part of a Confederate monument on Wednesday, according to media outlets.
Efforts to tear one of the statues down began around 8:20 p.m., but the rope they were using snapped, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
The crowd was frustrated by the Portsmouth City Council’s decision to put off moving the monument. They switched to throwing bricks from the post that held the plaque they had pulled down as they initially worked to bring down the statue.
The Pilot reports that they then started to dismantle the monument one piece at a time as a marching band played in the streets and other protesters danced.
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A flag tied to the monument was lit on fire, and the flames burned briefly at the base of one of the statues.
The actions come amid national protests over the death of George Floyd who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck.
A statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond was torn down by protesters, set on fire and then submerged into a lake on Tuesday. News outlets reported the Columbus statue was toppled less than two hours after protesters gathered in the city’s Byrd Park chanting for the statue to be taken down.
The death of Floyd, who was black, has prompted similar Confederate monument removals around the nation. Some people say the tributes inappropriately glorify people who led a rebellion that sought to uphold slavery. Others say their removal amounts to erasing history.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam last week ordered the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which is four blocks away from where the Davis statue stood. A judge on Monday issued an injunction preventing officials from removing the monuments for the next 10 days.