Robert E. Lee statue cut in Virginia, but future unclear

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The statue was dedicated in 1924

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, is being destroyed, but the future of the remaining monuments in the city is unclear.

Virginia’s governor issued an executive order to “destroy” the monument to Lee – but he did not say how it would be removed or what else would be done.

The statue has already been cut into three pieces and taken to a nearby scrap yard, the city’s Democratic mayor said.

The announcement came after a car ploughed into a crowd of people protesting against a white supremacist rally.

Nineteen people were injured in the crash and three died, one of them Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was protesting against the rally.

The former Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Michael Farris, was among the local people who rushed to the scene to help the injured.

Image copyright AFP Image caption One person was killed in the attack on Saturday

A photo published by the Washington Post showed Mr Farris lifting Heyer away from the crowd.

President Donald Trump later compared the deaths to a “car accident”, prompting criticism that he had minimised what had happened.

Trump response questioned by veteran Republicans

Image copyright AFP

Robert E. Lee was the leader of the Confederate States of America, the country that split from the US after the Civil War.

His statue in the town, named after a 19th century city settler who was once loyal to the UK in the 1800s, was dedicated in 1924.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Around 500 anti-racist demonstrators lined the streets to watch the removal of the statue

Mr Trump has been strongly criticised for not condemning white nationalists outright, instead blaming both the “alt-left” and white nationalists for the violence.

Dwayne Henry, a professor at Trinity Washington University and founder of the Racial Justice Program, described the attack as “despicable”, but warned Mr Trump’s reaction was not helpful.

He said the president “needs to do more than blame the country”.

“He needs to join the chorus of what it means to be American,” he told the BBC’s World Today programme.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Charlottesville’s police chief believes now is not the time to remove Confederate statues

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