Black Lives Matter Protesters Cover Thomas Jefferson Statue In Charlottesville

Black Lives Matter Protesters Cover Thomas Jefferson Statue In Charlottesville

"I also recognize the rights of those present at the protest to express their emotions and opinions regarding the recent horrific events that occurred on our grounds and in Charlottesville", Sullivan said in a statement posted online.

Just one month after a demonstration over plans to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee turned violent, resulting in a woman's death, a different group of protesters has targeted a statue of U.S. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson.

Protesters covered the statue with a black tarp and signs that read "Black Lives Matter" and another that read "TJ is a racist + rapist".

Sullivan, in a Wednesday email to alumni, said the protesters were "desecrating ground that many of us consider sacred" and she "strongly disagreed" with the "protesters' decision to cover" the statue.

"I prefer the process of discussion and debate", she said, adding that "the debate is happening here" at U.Va.

Protesters called for the university to fulfill demands set by the Black Student Alliance to remove Confederate landmarks and ban white supremacist groups from campus, local newspaper The Daily Progress reported. Authorities said Lambert, who is not affiliated with the school, was legally open-carrying a firearm.

Sullivan also said that Jefferson would not be surprised by the disagreements and activism shown at the University, given his support of free expression. University officials have removed the shroud.

The respondents are virtually deadlocked, for instance, on the demand that "all students, regardless of area of study, should have required education on white supremacy, colonization, and slavery as they directly relate to Thomas Jefferson, the University, and the city of Charlottesville", with 40 percent of students supporting the idea and 41 percent opposed.

But Sullivan said Jefferson also "made many contributions to the progress of the early American Republic: he served as the third President of the United States, championed religious freedom, and authored the Declaration of Independence". That statue was cloaked in the aftermath of the bloody clashes in August, the New York Daily News reports, as was a statue of Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in the city.

On Aug. 15, President Donald Trump generated controversy when he asserted during a press conference that some participants in the white nationalist rally were not racists but strictly protesters against the removal of Confederate monuments. Responding on Twitter to the shrouding, he called on UVa to "expel students and fire any faculty responsible", saying "anything less is acceptance". That march on campus was followed the next day by a larger rally in downtown Charlottesville that descended into violence.

There have been no reports that the protesters damaged the Jefferson statue. The group of about 100 people included students, faculty and community members.

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