The Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue has been cleaned after being tagged with red paint and “BLM,” a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
This is not the first time the base of the monument to the Confederate general has been vandalized. The graffiti comes at a time of heightened tensions about a year after the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville and following a recommendation by the Monument Avenue Commission that context be added to the Lee statue and others along Monument.
The Department of General Services, tasked with the statue’s maintenance, has no leads on the person or persons responsible.
Mayor Levar Stoney, who believes the statues should be removed, released a short statement denouncing the vandalism despite his opposition to them. “I don’t support the monuments but vandalism is a crime no matter where it takes place and the individual or individuals responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” his office said in the statement to media.