Charlottesville begins covering Confederate statue in black

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Workers in Charlottesville shrouded a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in black on Wednesday in a move intended to symbolize the city’s mourning for a woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally earlier this month.

Live video from the scene showed a public works truck near the base of the statue and workers gathered around it with a large black drape. They used ropes and poles to cover the imposing statue of Lee on horseback as onlookers took photos and video. Some of the crowd cheered as the cover was put in place.

The city council voted Tuesday to drape the Lee statue and another of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson at another nearby park. The council meeting was packed with irate residents who screamed and cursed at councilors over the city’s response to the rally.

The Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” event was believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade.

White nationalists and counter-protesters clashed violently in the street that day, largely uninterrupted by authorities, until the event was declared an unlawful assembly and the crowd was forced to disperse. Later, a car rammed into a crowd of demonstrators, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

James Alex Fields Jr. has been charged in her death.

The death toll for the day climbed to three when a helicopter that had been monitoring the event and assisting with the governor’s motorcade crashed, killing two state troopers.

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