Charlottesville removes Confederate statues

Charlottesville, whose statues of Confederate generals and slavers Robert Lee and Stonewall Jackson attracted a white nationalist rally in 2017, is finally removing them this weekend. Lee's will be "hoisted off its pedestal" and "sent to storage", officials told the AP.

The statues are perched in places of relative prominence in Charlottesville, a small, picturesque city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and home to the University of Virginia. Commissioned by a UVA graduate and erected in the 1920s, when Jim Crow laws were eroding the rights of Black citizens, the statues are just blocks apart from each other. The Charlottesville City Council voted in February 2017 to take down the Lee statue amid mounting public pressure, including a petition started by a Black high school student, Zyahna Bryant.

UPDATE: CNN is at the scene Saturday morning and reports that the work is underway.

Heavy machinery lifted a statue of Robert E. Lee in Market Street Park from its stone base around 8 a.m. A crowd that gathered to watch clapped and cheered