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Crowds gather at Robert E. Lee statue night before removal

Crowds Night Before Lee Statue Removal.png
Posted at 11:59 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 10:41:26-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As preparations began for the removal of the Robert E. Lee Monument Tuesday evening, crowds gathered at the circle to take pictures and see it standing for one last time.

Richmond's statue of Lee, the tallest Confederate statue in the country, is set to come down on Wednesday. It has been standing in Richmond for over 130 years.

The scene around the statue on Tuesday made it clear that its days were numbered. Fencing was installed after tow trucks moved vehicles that were parked in the perimeter and police blocked off streets to prepare.

"We went through various efforts to finally get to dismantle it," said Delegate Delores McQuinn. "It's a new day dawning,"

She stood before statue on Tuesday, and said it was a time for her to reflect on the past and look toward a brighter future.

"As soon as the court decision came down, I wept because I have three granddaughters," McQuinn said. "And what I have experienced, I have fought, that they might not have to experience."

Artists like Keisha, who have documented the evolution of the monument over the last year had the chance to watch as crews rolled in, and preparations began to remove the 12 ton statue on Tuesday.

It left her momentarily lost for words.

"It's just a lot," she said.

She showed CBS 6 some of the photos she had taken over the course of the day.

"Just some shots that I got, some last moments that I'll probably have," Keisha said.

As the afternoon turned into evening, small protests begin from BLM RVA and other community members set up in the area after Police asked people to leave.

While most trickled out, a few stayed, refused to leave.

The situation intensified after police asked a third time, but diffused as people made their way out and the last of the mile-long fence was able to be put in place.

While the statue is being dismantled on Wednesday, there are options for people to view its removal both in-person and online. For more information about viewing options, click here.