Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Black Lives Matter Protesters Cover Thomas Jefferson Statue In Charlottesville

Black Lives Matter Protesters Cover Thomas Jefferson Statue In Charlottesville

The protest came one month after white nationalists inundated Charlottesville, first storming the Rotunda on August 11 with tiki torches and then gathering for the Unite the Right rally in downtown Charlottesville on the following day.

The protesters also displayed a list of demands that include an increase African American undergraduate enrollment and black faculty, as well as a required course for all students on "white supremacy, colonization and slavery as they directly relate to Thomas Jefferson, the university and the city of Charlottesville".

A group has now covered the statue of Thomas Jefferson that sits in front of the University of Virginia Rotunda.

President Donald Trump warned in the wake of last month's protests that statues of Jefferson would be the next target of protesters.

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.

About 62 percent of students, meanwhile, agreed with the city's decision to remove the equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee, and 67 percent approved of the decision to rename "Lee and Jackson Parks to Emancipation and Justice Parks".

At just after 8 p.m. Monday, about 100 people gathered around the Jefferson statue while three climbed up and draped a black tarp over the University of Virginia's founder. "She's only present in response".

UVA President Teresa Sullivan issued a statement to students, faculty and staff, defending the right to express opinions about Jefferson but taking strong personal exception to those views. The protest occurred on the one-month anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., and was meant to criticize the "perceived inaction" of the university's president, Teresa A. Sullivan, on the night of August 11, when white supremacists surrounded students who had gathered to protest their presence on the campus.

The university did not immediately comment on the Jefferson statue shrouding, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

On Sept. 12, a group of UVA students and Charlottesville residents surrounded a statue of Jefferson on the UVA campus.

"With every new horror that arises each month, each day, there has been an unparalleled resistance of people who say no to white supremacy, no to fascism, no to all forms of oppression", an unidentified speaker told the crowd, according to The Daily Progress.

The university has "acknowledged its controversial history", though there is "more work to be done", she wrote.

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