SAN ANTONIO - Crews began dismantling the Confederate monument in Travis Park at the center of a heated city-wide debate less than 24 hours after the City Council voted for its removal and storage.
The 8-foot statue of an unknown Confederate soldier that sat atop the 118-year-old monument was hoisted through the sky and loaded safely to a flatbed trailer just before 2 a.m. Friday morning.
“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! This racist statue has got to go,” onlookers chanted as they witnessed the removal.
Police were on scene and fences were erected around the park to help keep people safe, but the majority of the crowds disbursed shortly after the Confederate soldier statue was removed.
“The true test of community is our ability to be resilient after those disagreements, and resiliency looks like what you’re seeing right now,” District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez said.
Crews continued to work into the morning to remove the more than 30-foot column and pedestal.
“There’s no violence. There are no swastikas flying. There’s no torches. Nobody’s beating up any body. There’s no ambulances answering the call to rescue people who are injured, and so, I’m not surprised,” Councilman Pelaez said.
The San Antonio City Council formally voted to remove the statue Thursday afternoon. The measure passed 10-1 with District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry voting against the ordinance to authorize the removal and storage of the monument.
The removal is expected to cost the city around $150,000, but as far as where the statue will be stored or where it will be permanently located to have not been released.
The vote was taken after numerous comments from the public and statements by each council person and Mayor Nirenberg.
"It would be a monumental miscalculation to underestimate the moment that we are in today," Mayor Nirenberg said during his brief remarks before the vote. "The opportunity we have as a city, as a country, to write the next chapter of our story."
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