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US: Decatur Confederate monument is taken down in Atlanta suburb

Democrats want to remove Confederate statues from Capitol after George Floyd's death

  Democrats want to remove Confederate statues from Capitol after George Floyd's death Lawmakers say they want to take down the Confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol and donate them to the Smithsonian. As cities and states have started taking down their own Confederate statues after the death of George Floyd in police custody, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, plans to reintroduce legislation on Thursday to do the same on Capitol Hill, removing the roughly 10 statues associated with the Confederacy from the National Statuary Hall Collection.

A crowd gathered in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur to watch the removal of a Confederate monument -- the latest controversial symbol toppled in the wake of the George Floyd protests.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A crane removes a confederate monument from Decatur square in Georgia on Friday, June 19. © Brook Joyner/CNN A crane removes a confederate monument from Decatur square in Georgia on Friday, June 19.

A DeKalb County judge last week ordered the relocation of the 30-foot obelisk at Decatur Square after the city argued it'd become a threat to public safety during recent protests. He ordered it removed by midnight June 26 and placed in storage until further notice.

As a large crane pulled down the obelisk just before midnight Thursday, people chanted, "Take it down! Take it down!" Others applauded.

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"The Confederate obelisk has become an increasingly frequent target of graffiti and vandalism, a figurative lightning rod for friction among citizens, and a potential catastrophe that could happen at any time if individuals attempt to forcibly remove or destroy it," Judge Clarence Seeliger said.

The point of the removal is not to prevent its public display but "instead is an appropriate measure to abate a public nuisance and protect the obelisk," he added.

Floyd's death during an arrest by a White police officer ignited protests against racism and police brutality. The 46-year-old Black man died on May 25 in Minneapolis in an incident captured on video.

Protesters in some cases and city leaders in others have taken down contentious statues, which some people say mark history and honor heritage while others argue they are racist symbols of America's dark legacy of slavery. While some cities have made efforts to remove them, others have passed laws to protect them.

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Just this month alone, a series of statues have been removed, including Christopher Columbus, another controversial figure in US history. Some Christopher Columbus statues have been tampered with -- one thrown into a lake, one beheaded, and another pulled to the ground.

Others statues removed this month include:

Virginia: A Confederate monument in downtown Norfolk and a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond.

Kentucky: In Louisville, the John Breckenridge Castleman monument, which is a statue of a Confederate soldier in the heart of downtown.

Florida: Crews in downtown Jacksonville took down a 122-year-old statue and plaque that honored fallen Confederate soldiers. Mayor Lenny Curry also announced that all Confederate monuments citywide will be removed. This includes three monuments and eight historical markers. "If our history prevents us from reaching the full potential of our future, then we need to take action," Curry said.

Mississippi faces reckoning on Confederate emblem in flag

  Mississippi faces reckoning on Confederate emblem in flag The young activists who launched a protest movement after George Floyd’s death are bringing fresh energy to a long-simmering debate about the Confederate battle emblem that white supremacists embedded within the Mississippi state flag more than 125 years ago. Anti-racism protests have toppled Confederate statues and monuments across the United States in recent days, and even NASCAR banned the display of the rebel flag. But Mississippi has been a holdout for years in displaying the emblem in the upper-left corner of its banner.

Tennessee: In Nashville, a controversial statue of Edward Carmack, a former US senator and newspaper owner known for attacking civil rights advocates like Ida B. Wells, was carried away from the city's Capitol grounds.

Other states removed controversial statues last month, including a 115-year-old monument yanked down during a protest in Birmingham, Alabama.

Rayshard Brooks struggled in system but didn't hide his past .
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