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Protesters Try To Topple Confederate Monument, Mayor Vows To Remove It

By  Hank Berrien
A monument to volunteers of the Army of the Republic stands next to a confederate monument covered up by the mayor of Birmingham in Linn Park August 18, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Photo by Hal Yeager/Getty Images

On Sunday, after protesters tried to topple a 115-year-old Confederate monument in Birmingham, Alabama, the mayor of Birmingham pled with the protesters to leave before they got arrested, promising to remove the monument.

The 52-foot tall Confederate Soldiers & Sailors Monument in Linn Park, where there is also a statue of Confederate sailor Charles Linn, was erected in 1905. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin showed up on the scene and said he would work to have the monument removed by Tuesday. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen: everybody listen to me. If you continue to (unintelligible) the statue, we’ll have to bring the police in. I’m not telling you to disperse; I’m just telling you to leave the statue alone. I gave you my word; Tuesday by noon, okay?”

“The statue has been at the center of a legal fight between the city and the state’s attorney general’s office, with the city wanting it removed but ultimately losing the battle. Still, Randall Woodfin, the mayor of the majority black city, approved the removal on Monday in defiance of the Alabama Monuments Preservation Act, setting the stage for another showdown,” The New York Times noted.

CNN affiliate WIAT reported that Woodfin stated on Sunday night, “Allow me to finish the job for you.”

On Monday, Woodfin said at a press conference, “Birmingham, this is not us. This is not who we are. This is not how we taught the world to protest. Anybody that’s doing the looting, breaking things, setting fires, you’re not doing that in the name of reform or George Floyd. You’re on a different agenda and the City of Birmingham won’t tolerate it,” reported.

He added:

The Legislature enacted a law that prevented cities from removing Confederate statues in the state of Alabama for all 169 cities, so Birmingham is not alone in this fight. Moving forward, what took place in the park put many of the residents and the peaceful protesters in physical danger. In addition to that it could possible put our officers in danger …

In order to prevent more civil unrest, it is very imperative that we remove this statue in Linn Park. That has a cost to it. I understand the AG’s office can bring a civil suit against the city and if there’s a judgment rendered from a judge, then we should be held accountable and I am willing to accept that because that is a lower cost than civil unrest in our city.

“In 2017, Alabama enacted a law directed at local governments that bars the removal, renaming, removal and alteration of monuments, memorial streets, memorial buildings and architecturally significant buildings located on public property for 40 or more years,” noted.

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