Protesters demonstrating against racism toppled a statue of a Confederate general and torched on Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
The Albert Pike statue ripped down during the anti-racism rally in Washington DC on Friday was the only statue of a Confederate general in the nation’s capital.
Pike was a Confederate general and longtime leader of the Freemasons, who paid for the statue, although his association with the Confederate army has made him a controversial historical figure, especially in the wake of the anti-racism movement sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
Activists and government officials in DC have called for the removal of the statue, but federal government approval was required.
‘Ever since 1992, members of the DC council have been calling on the federal government to remove the statue of Confederate Albert Pike (a federal memorial on federal land),’ Washington DC City Council tweeted Friday.
‘We unanimously renewed our call to Congress to remove it in 2017.’
A proposal calling for the statue’s removal branded Pike a ‘chief founder of the post-civil war Ku Klux Klan,’ although the Freemason’s have disputed the claim.
Protesters were seen wrapping chains around the 11-foot statue before pulling it to the ground. They then set a bonfire and burned the statue while chanting ‘No justice no peace, no racist police.’
Videos and pictures of the incident showed that police were on the scene, but they did not intervene as protesters toppled the statue.
Donald Trump responded to the statue’s removal by tweeting, ‘The DC police are not doing their job as they watched the statue be ripped down and burn. These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our country.’
However, the president’s tweet just became a rallying cry for protesters, who read Trump’s tweet over a bullhorn in Lafayette park near the White House.
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