Antifa protesters marched on Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia this week, bent on destroying the "Confederate monument" they said was encouraging racism in their community. But it was only after they'd vandalized and spray-painted the statue that they realized it was a "peace monument" designed to encourage national healing in the wake of the Civil War.
Monday night, a crowd bearing signs that read "Defend C-ville" marched from one Atlanta park to another, demonstrating against the white supremacists who caused havoc in Charlottesville, North Carolina over the weekend.
Once they got to Piedmont Park, black-clad members of Antifa, attacked the statue, spraying it with paint, putting a chain around its neck, and attempting, unsuccessfully, to drag the giant statute off its base. When they realized they couldn't topple the behemoth, they disbanded, but not before causing serious damage.
The Associated Press managed to capture the bold and courageous property damage as it happened.
Unfortunately for Antifa, who were clearly to busy opposing fascism to read a plaque at the base of the monument (which is printed with the words, "Cease firing, peace is priceless,”) or do any basic Google research, what they thought was a pro-Confederate memorial turned out to be a monument to peace.
The statue, which depicts an angel guiding a Confederate soldier to lay down his arms, was erected in 1911, well after the Civil War, and a part of an organized effort in Atlanta to encourage peace and healing in the wake of a bloody and destructive era in the state's history.
“These guys realized a national healing needed to take place,” Thornton Kennedy, a local historian, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, speaking of the citizens who erected the statute at the beginning of the 20th Century. “They organized a peace tour of the North, which is really remarkable,” Kennedy said. “These were guys who fought in the Civil War, against Union troops.”
But, it looked just a little too much like a Confederate monument for Antifa's taste, so clearly it had to go. According to the A J-C, a member of the group did try to warn the masked vigilantes that the statue wasn't what they thought it was, but that person's statement was met with a chorus of "boos and catcalls."
In the wake of their huge mistake, All Out Atlanta, the group that organized the vandalism, issued a statement claiming that "liberal America" has "blood on its hands." They said they will continue their crusade against Confederate monuments, but failed to mention if they plan on Googling their intended targets in the future.
Authorities in Atlanta say the statue suffered major damage in the melee, and they have yet to determine whether they can fix it, or whether it must be removed.