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Robert Lee statue removed in Richmond, Virginia
The famous statue of Robert Lee, the slave-owning military leader of the Civil War, was dismantled in Virginia's capital. Photo: Getty Images.

Robert E. Lee, the symbol of slavery that fell in Virginia

The statue of Robert E. Lee, the main military leader of the Confederate Army who fought to preserve slavery during the Civil War, was officially dismantled.

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Finally, after a legal battle for the dismantling of the controversial Confederate monument, the largest statue of its kind in the United States — that of Robert E. Lee, the main figure of the Confederacy — was finally dismantled after 130 years.

The Virginia Supreme Court endorsed the removal of the statue last week, a giant bronze figure of Lee riding a horse. With a weight of 12 tons and height of 12 meters, the general said goodbye to Richmond, the secessionist capital during the Civil War, after being lowered by a crane and then being cut with a saw in two.

The monument had been repeatedly denounced for several decades as the greatest symbol of racism in the United States, so it was not a surprise that hundreds of people had gathered to see its long-awaited fall from the pedestal.

Levar Stoney, mayor of the Virginia capital, long considered the capital of the Confederacy, welcomed the court order and noted it was a long-overdue debt.

The neighborhoods near Monument Avenue, a boulevard with figures that represented the South during the Civil War, also celebrated the measure, since the giant piece, made by the Frenchman Antonin Mercie, had become a stage of tension and confrontation, especially after various incidents of police violence that caught nationwide ire.

As in Richmond, across the country several Confederate monuments have been dismantled under pressure from the Black Lives Matter movement. However, unlike other examples where they have been removed almost clandestinely, on this occasion, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam made an effort to make it a live show and give it a great national impact, broadcasting the moment live through his Twitter account.

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