Charlottesville: Baltimore's Confederate monuments removed overnight after violence

Charlottesville: Baltimore's Confederate monuments removed overnight after violence

Charlottesville: Baltimore's Confederate monuments removed overnight after violence

Updated 17 August 2017, 5:40 AEST

Baltimore residents wake up to find the city's Confederate monuments gone, days after white supremacists led a deadly protest over the planned removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Baltimore residents have woken to find the city's Confederate monuments gone, days after white supremacists led a deadly protest over the planned removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Work crews took down the monuments in the middle of the night, after the city council approved the removal of four statues, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Monuments to Robert E Lee, commander of the pro-slavery Confederate army in the American Civil War, and Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson were dismantled from the Maryland city's Wyman Park Dell.

Baltimore city councilman Brandon Scott called for the removal of the statues in a resolution submitted to the council, according to the Sun.

"Following the acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white supremacist terrorist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, cities must act decisively and immediately by removing these monuments," he wrote.

Mr Scott called for the monuments to not just be moved, but also destroyed.

"Now we need to melt them down and use the materials to honour true Baltimore heroes," he posted on Twitter after the monuments had been removed.

Images showed activists posing on the Lee and Jackson monument's newly-empty pedestal, with the words "Black Lives Matter" and "smash white supremacy" scrawled across it.

The dismantling of the monuments came after a rally by white supremacists protesting against plans to remove the statue of Lee sparked clashes with anti-racism demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

The rally turned deadly when a car rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring 19 other people.

Push to remove Confederate symbols gathers force

Saturday's violence appears to have accelerated the drive to remove memorials, flags and other reminders of the Confederate cause across the United States.

Earlier this week, angry protesters in North Carolina marched through the streets of Durham and toppled a long-standing statue of a Confederate soldier.

Moves to remove Confederate symbols — such as flags and statues — from public parks and official buildings intensified after the 2015 massacre of nine black worshipers who were gunned down in their church by white supremacist Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina.

Photographs of Roof on social media later emerged, showing the killer brandishing a Confederate flag and burning the US "Stars and Stripes".

For some Americans, the Confederate icons symbolise white supremacy. For others, they are racially innocuous reminders of history.

For several decades after the American Civil War, the Confederate battle emblem was rarely displayed.

It was not until 1948 that the Confederate flag re-emerged as a potent political symbol and, since then, has been embraced by the American white supremacist movement.

ABC/Reuters