Birmingham Protesters Tear Down Confederate Statue In City Park As Demonstrations Escalate

A picture of a Confederate statue in a Birmingham park.
Hal Yeager / Getty Images

Protesters in Birmingham, Alabama, took aim at Confederate monuments during escalating protests on Sunday, tearing down one statue and trying unsuccessfully to bring down a larger monument.

As Al.com reported, what started as a peaceful protest demanding justice for George Floyd turned increasingly turbulent as demonstrators damaged property and turned their attention toward several monuments to the Confederate Army in the city’s Linn Park. The report noted that they tore down one statue — identified as one honoring Charles Linn, the park’s namesake and a founding father of the city of Birmingham who fought in the Confederate Army during the Civil War — and tried to take down the larger Confederate Soldiers & Sailors monument.

Protesters chipped away at the base of the monument and attempted to tear it down using ropes pulled by pickup trucks, but the attempts were unsuccessful. As the report noted, there had been legal battles to have the monument removed, with the city of Birmingham wanting it removed but losing a court battle with the Alabama state attorney general’s office.

The report noted that police moved into the park and pushed demonstrators into an area south of the park, where they continued to break windows and spray paint buildings.

Images of the Linn Park statue being torn down captured viral interest, with many celebrating the removal of a statue honoring a Confederate soldier and noting that it appeared in line with the aim of many protests to attack white supremacy and correct structural racism.

As a report from The Associated Press noted, protesters in other cities across the south took aim at Confederate statues during the protests. On the campus of the University of Mississippi, protesters spray-painted the words “spiritual genocide” on a Confederate statue and also covered it in red handprints. Another Confederate monument at the North Carolina State Capitol building was marked with a black X and a phrase denigrating police officers. The word “racist” was also written on the monument.

As the report noted, many of the statues and monuments targeted had already been a target for removal in recent years.

“As tense protests swelled across the country Saturday into Sunday morning, monuments in Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Mississippi were defaced,” the report noted. “The presence of Confederate monuments across the South — and elsewhere in the United States — has been challenged for years, and some of the monuments targeted were already under consideration for removal.”