Monuments to Confederate generals like the ones that sparked protests in Charlottesville, Virginia are memorials to war veterans and as such are protected by state law and cannot be removed, a court has ruled.
For decades there have been calls throughout the US for removal of Confederate monuments, which some argue glorify the cause of white supremacy by honoring those who defended the institution of slavery during the American Civil War. Efforts to erase the controversial memorials in Charlottesville have intensified since hundreds of alleged white supremacists descended on the city in August 2017 to defend the Southern symbols from destruction, claiming they are part of the cultural heritage of the United States.
But despite calls to get rid of two downtown statues of General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas Johnathan “Stonewall” Jackson, a Charlottesville judge ruled that Confederate memorials cannot be removed, as they are protected by the state.
“These statues are monuments and memorials to Lee and Jackson,” Judge Richard Moore ruled Monday after examining a Monument Fund lawsuit filed in February 2017 to stop the Charlottesville City Council from removing the two statues. The defendants in the case argued that the statues were not war memorials, and therefore cannot be protected under Virginia law.