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Charlottesville judge orders tarps off Confederate statues

Tourists and visitors would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if they weren’t allowed to see the statues of two Confederate heroes in Charlottesville, Virginia, a local judge ruled on Tuesday. 

Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore ordered the city to remove the black shrouds that were installed over the monuments of Robert E. Lee and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson after a white nationalist rally last summer.

A decision on their removal was postponed until at least April, according to WVIR-TV.

Local news outlets report Moore gave the city 15 days from the time an official order is signed to remove the tarps.

The tarps have been removed several times since being put up in August as a sign of the city’s mourning of the deadly violence at the August rally.

This August 2017 file photo shows residents and visitors as they look over the covered statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation park in Charlottesville

Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore ordered the city to remove the black shrouds that were installed over the monuments of Robert E. Lee (above) and Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson after a white nationalist rally last summer

Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore ordered the city to remove the black shrouds that were installed over the monuments of Robert E. Lee (above) and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson after a white nationalist rally last summer

Moore’s decision came during a hearing in a lawsuit against the city, which is seeking to remove the monuments.

The city said in a statement that it is disappointed by the ruling but will respect the court’s decision.

Moore said that tourists, historians, and artists should be able to enjoy the two statues.

‘He [Moore] said that it causes irreparable harm for people not to be able to see these statues, and we would say it’s the exact opposite,’ said Ben Doherty, an activist with Showing Up for Racial Justice. 

‘It’s these statues being here on a daily basis that cause irreparable harm to this community.’

Last August, workers in Charlottesville shrouded a statue of Lee in black in a move symbolizing the city’s mourning for Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally.

Last August, workers in Charlottesville shrouded a statue of Lee in black in a move symbolizing the city's mourning for Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally

Last August, workers in Charlottesville shrouded a statue of Lee in black in a move symbolizing the city’s mourning for Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally

After authorities forced the crowd to disperse, a car rammed into a group of people protesting the white nationalists, killing Heyer (above) and injuring many more

The alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr (above), is facing a total of 10 charges including second-degree murder

After authorities forced the crowd to disperse, a car rammed into a group of people protesting the white nationalists, killing Heyer (left) and injuring many more. The alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr (right), is facing a total of 10 charges including second-degree murder

They used ropes and poles to cover the imposing statue of Lee on horseback as onlookers took photos and video. Some of the crowd cheered as the cover was put in place.

White nationalists descended on Charlottesville in August, in part to protest the city’s plan to take the statue out of a downtown park and sell it. 

Fights broke out before the rally got started, with attendees and counterprotesters brawling in the streets. 

After authorities forced the crowd to disperse, a car rammed into a group of people protesting the white nationalists, killing Heyer and injuring many more.

The alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr, is facing a total of 10 charges including second-degree murder.

In May, Moore agreed to a six-month injunction prohibiting the removal of the Lee statue while the lawsuit plays out. 

The City Council initially planned to leave the Jackson statue in place, but since the Aug. 12 violence, it has taken administrative first steps toward having that monument removed as well.

The violence in Charlottesville fueled a re-evaluation of Confederate statues, symbols and namesakes in cities across the nation, accelerating their removal in much the same way that a 2015 mass shooting by a white supremacist in South Carolina renewed pressure to take down the Confederate flag from public property. 

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for April 11. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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