In the aftermath of the Charlottesville Weekend War of the past two days, demonstrations popped up all over the nation condemning the violence.
These counter protests sought to stand with the people of Charlottesville who were besieged by a technically unlawful gathering of white supremacists, white nationalists, and a neo-Nazis who descended upon the town at a “Unite The Right” rally. While the racist organization wreaked havoc across the city, the weekend ended with 3 deaths and dozens of other injuries, prompting an outcry of support for the people of Charlottesville and a strong anti-racism response from the rest of the nation.
One such reactionary demonstration took a bizarre turn in Atlanta, Georgia, the “city too busy to hate”, as protesters reached Piedmont Park in the center of the sprawling urban metropolis. Caught up in the fervor of the moment, several demonstrators began to deface and threaten to topple a memorial statute in the park that they believed was promoting the Civil War’s Confederacy. Such a monument was the linchpin of the Charlottesville turmoil, after all.
Unfortunately for all involved, Atlanta’s rally participants were completely mistaken, and defaced a statue that was erected to promote peace between the North and the South after the war had long ended.
“Atlanta’s historic Peace Monument in Piedmont Park was defaced Sunday night at the end of a long march that organized to protest violence in Charlottesville, Va.
“The protest began in downtown’s Woodruff Park and stretched over a couple of hours into midtown. Atlanta police cleared the way for them to march peacefully.
“’We’re trying to keep it non-violent,’ said protester Veronica Boykin. ‘That’s the goal.’
“But when the march reached the statue in Piedmont Park, several demonstrators climbed onto the monument and defaced it with red spray paint. A chain was also thrown around the monument, as several protestors chanted, ‘Tear it down. Tear it down.’
“The statue was commissioned in 1911 to symbolize efforts of reconciliation between the North and South after the Civil War. According to the state of Georgia, the monument was funded by the Old Guard Battalion of the Gate City Guard, which traces it heritage to 1854 when a group of private citizens formed a private militia to help the city keep law and order.”
It was an embarrassing moment for a city that had recently demonstrated a gold standard for handling large, protesting crowds.
Earlier in 2017, a massive march throughout Atlanta threatened to completely incapacitate the city as protesters moved to block the combined interstate of I-75 and I-85. As the police blockaded the entrance ramp, Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed was delivered to the scene to speak directly with the protesters, explaining that he would allow the protests to continue peacefully, but he would not allow the marchers to enter the interstate. Reed was bold enough to offer a ride back to his office for several march organizers to discuss the situation as well, seeing as this was occurring late in the night.