Cross burned on Alabama highway bridge as a 120-year-old Confederate statue is removed

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Alabama authorities are investigating a burned cross left on a highway bridge when government officials demolished a 120-year-old Confederate statue in a nearby town.

Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson said several drivers noticed the fire on Interstate 85 around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

A car driver called the local authorities, reports the WSPA.

MPs and motorists were working to put out the fire, Brunson said. He described the cross as being made of makeshift wood.

Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson said several drivers noticed the fire on Interstate 85 around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. It took several people to put out the fire

It was burned on top of the bridge.

John Bolton, one of the motorists who saw the burning, claimed he and two others had driven to Auburn when he saw the cross on fire.

“We stopped immediately and ran towards it,” he said. “It looked like a shadow would run away as we approached.”

Bolton said he called authorities when one of his friends knocked down the cross.

Overall, he announced that a cross, a burning tire and a fuel container were burned at the crime scene.

John Bolton, one of the motorists who saw the burning, claimed he and two others had driven to Auburn when he saw the cross on fire

John Bolton, one of the motorists who saw the burning, claimed he and two others had driven to Auburn when he saw the cross on fire

Burning crosses are most often referred to as the terror image of the Ku Klux Klan, the Anti-Defamation League.

The burning of the cross comes when Alabama’s port city removed a statue of a Confederate naval officer early Friday after days of police protests against the murder of George Floyd. The mayor said the memorial was a “potential distraction” to focus on the city’s future.

The bronze image of Admiral Raphael Semmes, who stood in the middle of a downtown street near the Mobile Waterfront for 120 years, had become a focal point for protests in the city on the Gulf Coast. Destroyed during a demonstration earlier this week and then cleaned from the city, it was removed overnight without public notice.

Overall, he announced that a cross, a burning tire and a fuel container were burned at the crime scene

Overall, he announced that a cross, a burning tire and a fuel container were burned at the crime scene

Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a series of messages posted on Twitter that he had ordered the removal. The decision to dismantle the statue was not about Semmes or the monument itself, “and it is not an attempt to rewrite history,” he wrote.

‘Moving this statue won’t change the past. It’s about removing a possible distraction so we can clearly focus on the future of our city, ”said Stimpson.

Other Confederate symbols have surfaced in the south as calls for the demolition of the rebel memorials increased during protests against Floyd’s death in which a Minneapolis police officer was charged with murder.

The City of Birmingham removed a towering obelisk after another statue was overthrown by protesters. The governor of Virginia decided to remove a giant statue of General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia after city officials announced they would remove other Confederate memorials from Monument Avenue.

The pedestal on which the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes stands stands empty in Mobile, Alabama, early Friday, June 5, 2020.  The city of Mobile removed the Confederate statue early Friday without making any public announcements

The pedestal on which the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes stands stands empty in Mobile, Alabama, early Friday, June 5, 2020. The city of Mobile removed the Confederate statue early Friday without making any public announcements

Semmes was a Confederate trade robber who allied Union ships during the Civil War. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, he was jailed for high treason in New York City before returning south after the war and was later banned from serving as an elected judge in Mobile by US authorities.

He dedicated his later years to writing his memoirs and became a “Lost Cause” hero for southerners lamenting the end of the Confederation. The statue was inaugurated in 1900, a year before Alabama ratified a constitution that established white supremacy in the state by essentially disenfranchising blacks and poor whites.

Semmes, a town of several thousand people near Mobile, was founded in 2010 and named in his honor.

The removal of the Confederate Soldiers' and Sailors' memorials in Linn Park in Birmingham began on Jefferson Davis' 212th birthday

The removal of the Confederate Soldiers’ and Sailors’ memorials in Linn Park in Birmingham began on Jefferson Davis’ 212th birthday

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