In a move that is sure to infuriate Confederate statue supporters, crews in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Wednesday covered up two statues with black shrouds.
The Charlottesville Department of Parks and Recreation covered up a statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson in Justice Park and another statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park, WVIR-TV reported.
The move came just two weeks after white supremacists took to the city’s streets to protest the removal of the statues. White supremacists were met by counterprotesters, which led violent confrontations that resulted in 32-year-old Heather Heyer’s death. Two Virginia State Police officers were also killed in a helicopter crash while responding to the violence.
The Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously Monday in favor of covering up each of the Confederate statues.
In February, the council voted to remove the statues. The decision was later challenged in court on the basis that council members violated a Virginia state law saying that war memorials cannot be removed.
According to Virginia Code § 15.2-1812, “a locality may, within the geographical limits of the locality, authorize and permit the erection of monuments or memorials for any war or conflict, or for any engagement of such war or conflict.”
The code goes on to list several different wars and monument types that cities are permitted by law to construct memorials for, including “Confederate or Union monuments or memorials of the War Between the States (1861-1865).”
As the legal battle rages on, however, city leaders argue that they do have the authority to remove the two statues because Confederate monuments are not war memorials, according to WVIR. The Charlottesville Circuit Court will take up the case later this month.
The concealing of the Confederate statues comes as cities and states across the country take action to remove or relocate monuments to Confederate leaders. The mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, for example, pushed to move a Confederate statue from outside a downtown courthouse to a veterans cemetery located just outside the city.
In Baltimore, crews took down several Confederate monuments under the cover of night.
The push to remove Confederate statues prompted all sides to weigh in on the controversy. President Donald Trump was among those voices.
“They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history,” Trump said at a campaign rally Tuesday in Phoenix, CNN reported. The president went on to call those who would remove the statues “weak, weak people.”
A recent NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll found that the majority of Americans agree with the president on this particular issue, with 62 percent of respondents saying they want Confederate monuments to stay while just 27 percent want them removed.