ACLU Asks Virginia Gov. to Remove Statue of Robert E. Lee

The civil rights group is urging the Governor to "show his commitment to racial equity."

Robert e lee statue
A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, is sparking controversy in Richmond, VA. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post/Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union is urging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from public grounds in Richmond.

The request comes on the heels of the state’s Department of General Services’ mulling of proposed regulations for protests and demonstrations at the monument to the Confederate general.

Virginia is seeking to replace emergency regulations with permanent rules that cut the maximum crowd size from 5,000 to 500 and ban weapons at permitted events, CNN reported.

“If the Lee Monument were not located where it is now, there would be no need for these onerous (and, potentially, unconstitutional) regulations regarding the use of the grounds surrounding it,” the ACLU said in a statement while calling on Gov. Northam to use his executive power to remove the statue.

“We urge the Governor to show his commitment to racial equity by taking action immediately to remove this towering racist symbol from Richmond’s Monument Avenue,” the statement continued. “Among other possibilities, he might want to consider donating it to the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park which memorializes Lee’s surrender of his 28,000 Confederate troops and the end of the American Civil War and would provide appropriate historical context for the statute’s display.”

Relocating the monument, according to the ACLU, would relieve the government of the risks of protests while protecting free speech.

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