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Teams begin long process of dismantling the pedestal of the statue of Lee

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) – Preliminary work to remove a massive pedestal that until recently contained a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee began in Richmond on Monday.

A team was erecting scaffolding around the pedestal on Monday afternoon, one of the first steps in a process that is expected to take weeks.

The administration of Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam on Sunday announced plans to remove the pedestal, which sits in the middle of a roundabout along the capital’s historic Monument Avenue. The governor also announced his intention to transfer the state-owned site to the city of Richmond after the pedestal is removed.

The teardown process is expected to begin Wednesday, according to Dena Potter, a spokesperson for the State Department of General Services.

Sunday’s announcement marked a reversal from September, when the Northam administration said the statue would remain in place while a process to reimagine the future of Monument Avenue unfolded. Other Confederate statues were pulled from the Residential Boulevard last summer following the protest movement ignited by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The withdrawal comes just before Northam leaves office and GOP Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, who has expressed less enthusiasm about the statue’s removal, is sworn in.

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