A Confederate monument has been removed in Georgia with hundreds of onlookers chanting: “Just drop it!”
The stone obelisk had been in place in Decatur since 1908, but more recently became a flashpoint for protests over police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd.
Last week a state judge ordered its removal by 26 June following a request from the city as it had become a threat to public safety.
His order came hours before a white Atlanta police officer fatally shot a black man, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, in the back, sparking renewed protests in the region.
However, the Lost Cause monument came down on the eve of Juneteenth – the holiday celebrating the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people learned they had been freed.
Workers chipped it loose and a crane came in to remove it as the crowd jeered and chanted.
Mawuli Davis, of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, said: “This feels great. This is a people’s victory.
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“All of our young people from Decatur High School that made this happen. All of these organisers, everybody came together.
“This is it. This is a victory for this country. This is an example of what can happen when people work together.”
Groups have been pushing for the monument to be removed since the deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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Megan Beezley, a resident, said: “It’s always been troubling to see that monument over there on the square.
“We spend a lot of time up here and it’s troubling that our friends and our loved ones and other people of colour have to look at that monument to slavery and to the Confederacy.”
A marker added last September said the monument was erected to “glorify the ‘lost cause’ of the Confederacy” and has “bolstered white supremacy and faulty history”.