UVA students cover Thomas Jefferson statue with tarp
University of Virginia students scaled a statue of Thomas Jefferson to shroud the idol in darkness during a rainy day protest Tuesday.
The students covered the statue with a black tarp and proudly posed with the slick bronze figure. Dozens of protesters on the Charlottesville, Va., campus chanted and condemned the founding father as a racist and rapist.
The city of Charlottesville similarly cloaked two Confederate war memorials of Gen. Robert e. Lee and Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson after a violent clash that left one peaceful protester dead in August.
“The same moderates who condemn the hate that came to Charlottesville one month ago fetishize the legacy of Jefferson, and imagine him as our collective moral compass,” one woman shouted to the crowd, according to the Daily Progress.
“We can and must condemn the violence of one month ago and simultaneously recognize Jefferson as a rapist, racist, and slave owner,” the speaker added.
The protesters cleared the Rotunda around midnight, leaving the statue covered and a large banner tied to its base. It read, “Black Lives Matter” and “F–k white supremacy.”
Someone later removed the tarp early Wednesday.
The Cavalier Daily reports that campus police arrested a man armed with a gun during the protest but no other details were immediately known.
The nighttime demonstration marks the one month since scores of tiki torch-toting white supremacists swarmed the same statue. The next day, a neo-Nazi rammed his sports into marching protesters, killing Heather Heyer.
The demonstrators that jeered the Jefferson statue in the latest show of defiance also renewed demands for the UVA administration to remove Confederate plaques and tweak school policies to prohibit concealed weapons and open flames at the Rotunda lawn.
The Black Student Alliance published the demands a week after Heyer’s death on Aug. 20. The group asked the school to acknowledge the former President’s white supremacist ties in a new plaque. He owned slaves.
Hours before students descended on the Rotunda, members of Congress backed a resolution condemning hate groups associated with the demonstrators that descended on the college town in August.
The measure is pending President Trump’s signature.