Robert E. Lee statue removed from its pedestal on Monument Avenue

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The country’s largest Confederate statue, and the last one standing on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, was removed this morning. The Robert E. Lee statue weighs more than 12 tons and was lifted off its granite pedestal in full. It will now be deconstructed for moving purposes.

The 40-foot pedestal will remain in place for now, with its final destination to be determined by a community-driven event to re-imagine Monument Avenue.

8News reporters on the scene are providing updates throughout the morning.


PHOTOS: Robert E. Lee statue comes down from Richmond’s Monument Avenue after 131 years

10:50 A.M.

The Robert E. Lee statue is being deconstructed. Since the statue was removed from the pedestal, crews have been working on the torso area and ultimately separated the bust of the statue. Once dismantled, the pieces will be transported to another location.

8news reported yesterday that the statue pieces are temporarily being taken to Goochland County, according to a source with direct knowledge of the plans.

Crews separated the statue at the torso in order to transport it to another location

Crews plan to separate the statue at the torso in order to transport it to another location

10:30 A.M.

Tensions are high this morning for some people following the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. 8News reporters on the scene witnessed two men arguing about the meaning of the statue and others trying to jump the fence. One man was successful.

Police have told the crowd that if they don’t want to get arrested, they need to step back.

A fence around the Lee circle has been in place for months, but fences blocking nearby streets and keeping the crowd further back and away from the grassy area around the monument were put in place last night.

10:20 A.M.

Shortly after 9 a.m., right after the Lee statue came down, a man carrying a Black Lives Matter flag jumped the fence around the monument and ran around the area.

#NOW: A man carrying a “Black Lives Matter” flag hopped the fence & took off around the Lee circle. This happened moments after the statue was hoisted off its pedestal. @8NEWS Watch: pic.twitter.com/MmbOTOS99S

— Autumn Childress (@achildresstv) September 8, 2021

9:40 A.M.

Roads around the Lee monument have been closed since Tuesday and will remain closed through Saturday. Street signs in the area indicate where parking is temporarily not permitted. A number of tow trucks have been seen in the area this morning as Richmond police and others patrol the area.

Reporter Kerri O’Brien saw cars being ticketed and towed and counted six tow tricks in a two-block radius.

RICHMOND: Park Avenue is littered with tow trucks. I’ve never seen this many in one spot. pic.twitter.com/LqXstmbmhY

— Tyler Thrasher (@TylerJThrasher) September 8, 2021

Cars being ticketed and towed on Park Avenue. (Photo Kerri O’Brien)

Cars being ticketed and towed on Park Avenue. (Photo Kerri O’Brien)

9:15 A.M.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring made remarks following the statue’s removal.

Gov. Northam said this has been a long time coming and is important for Virginia’s healing. Northam thanked Virginians for doing the right thing after 402 years of history.

“With the removal of this grandiose monument to a past that no longer represents who we are as a Commonwealth, we can turn the page to a new chapter,” AG Herring told reporters.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the public watch work crews work to remove one of the country’s largest remaining monuments to the Confederacy. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool)

8:55 A.M.

A crowd that had gathered to see the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue cheered as it was lifted off its pedestal.

The removal happened quickly after crew members were working for about an hour to saw the statue off its pedestal and secure it with rope. The Lee statue was on its way to the ground within seconds while the crowd sang, “Na na na nahey heyheygoodbye.”

The Robert E. Lee statue was removed by crew workers on Sept. 8, 2021.

The crowd at the removal of the Lee statue (Photo Ben Dennis)
The view from the public viewing area during the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue (Photo Ben Dennis)

The crowd cheered as the Lee statue was lifted off its pedestal. (Photo Kerri O’Brien)

8:30 A.M.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and First Lady of Virginia Pam Northam have arrived at the Robert E. Lee Monument to watch the removal process.

Gov. Northam announced his intentions to have the statue removed in the summer of 2020 — 10 days after George Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer sparked protests over police brutality and racism in cities across the country, including Richmond. 

Attorney General Mark Herring will also be attending the statue’s removal. After Gov. Northam ordered the removal of the state-owned statue, Herring defeated every legal challenge that attempted to keep the statue towering over Monument Avenue.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, First Lady of Virginia Pam Northam and Gov. Ralph Northam at the Lee Monument site on the day of the removal of the statue. (Photo: First Lady of Virginia Twitter)

8 A.M.

Crews have arrived at the Lee Monument and they are starting to strap the statue. The Lee Monument weighs 12 tons.

Crew workers wrapped rope around the entire base of the statue. The crane will be used to hoist the statue off its pedestal.

Crews put rope around the entire base of the Lee statue. A crane will be used to hoist it off its pedestal. (Photo: 8News’ Delaney Hall)

The Robert E. Lee statue weighs 12 tons. Crews will be removing the statue and cutting it in half for moving purposes. (Photo: 8News Reporter Tyler Thrasher)
A worker heads up on the monument to prepare for its removal. (Photo: 8News Reporter Tyler Thrasher)
Crew workers stand by for the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo: 8News reporter Tyler Thrasher)


Lee monument: removal plan, road closures, and how to watch

7 A.M.

The public viewing area just east of the monument opened up at 8 a.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis.

8News checked in with Richmond Police this morning and they said that as of now there are no security concerns. But, they aren’t taking any chances — fencing lines have been installed around Monument Avenue ahead of the event.

State, Capitol and Richmond Police are coordinating security and there are some street closures and parking restrictions that remain in effect until Saturday night.

Here’s a look at Monument Avenue ahead of the removal of the Lee statue.

Crowds starting to gather at the Robert E. Lee statue to watch its removal on Wednesday morning. (Photo: 8News Reporter Tyler Thrasher)

The Lee statue sits towering over Monument Avenue on the day of its removal, Sept. 8, 2021. (Photo: 8News Reporter Tyler Thrasher)


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