At least some of the Confederate monuments that have been recently removed from places of prominence in Richmond, Virginia, are being stored on the grounds of a waste water treatment plant, photographs show.
Photos taken this week by The Associated Press and Richmond Times-Dispatch show a collection of statues and other large objects under tarps at the facility just outside the city’s downtown.
On July 1, Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate statues on city property in Richmond, a onetime capital of the Confederacy. Stoney invoked his emergency powers, citing ongoing civil unrest and concerns that protesters would get hurt if they tried to pull down the enormous statues themselves.
His spokesman, Jim Nolan, did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the storage site Tuesday.
The only Confederate statue that remains on Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue is a memorial to Gen. Robert E. Lee located on state property. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered that statue’s removal, but it has been at least temporarily blocked by a lawsuit.
The monument removal decisions were made after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked global protests against racism and police brutality and led to a re-examination of statues and monuments of historical figures around the world.
The statues’ fate is not currently clear. A new state law that took effect July 1 allows local governments to remove statues on public property. It contains a provision that says the local governing body must offer the monument “for relocation and placement to any museum, historical society, government, or military battlefield” but also says the local government “shall have sole authority to determine the final disposition.”
The city council has scheduled a public hearing on the future of the monuments Aug. 3, according to the Times-Dispatch.
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