Charlottesville: Petition calls for Robert E Lee statue to be replaced with one of murdered protester Heather Heyer

The anti-racist protester was killed as white supremacists objected to the planned removal of the Confederate monument

Harry Cockburn
Monday 21 August 2017 13:47
Heather Heyer's mum holds a picture of her daughter and her mother
Heather Heyer's mum holds a picture of her daughter and her mother

A petition has been set up to call for the replacement of a statue of US Confederate Army general Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, with one of an anti-racist protester who was killed in the town during violent clashes.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed after a car was rammed at crowds during a white supremacy rally on 12 August at which she had been a counter-protester.

A known white supremacist, James Fields Jr, has been charged with Ms Heyer’s murder in the attack that left 19 others injured.

The initial gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups was organised as a response to the planned removal of the statue of General Robert E Lee. Charlottesville’s local government had voted to have the statue removed from one of the city’s parks.

Under Gen. Lee’s command, troops were allowed to raid towns and villages during the civil war to capture free black people for enslavement.

A petition to have the controversial statue replaced with one of Ms Heyer has received over 29,400 signatures.

The petition, titled “replace Charlottesville Confederate statue with a statue of Heather Heyer,” was set up by someone named Kathleen T. On the petition website she said: “Heather Heyer was there to oppose their bigotry, racism, and violence. She was there out of peace and love. And she was killed for it.

“Instead of honouring with a statue a man who symbolises the worst part of America, lets honour a young woman who represents the best part of America.

“Sign my petition to urge the city of Charlottesville to replace the Robert E. Lee statue with a statue, plaque or monument of Heather Heyer. Let's honour this brave woman who gave her life defending justice.”

After Ms Heyer’s death, white supremacist Jason Kessler, who organised the Charlottesville rally wrote on Twitter that she was a “fat, disgusting communist”, and said her death was “payback”.

Mr Kessler initially said his Twitter account had been hacked, but the following day backtracked and blamed the offensive post on a mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs.

Mr Kessler has said since the white supremacist rally he has been forces into hiding due to “a crushing amount of stress and death threats”.

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