The mayor of Charlottesville on Friday called for an emergency meeting of state lawmakers to confirm the city’s right to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a request that was swiftly rejected by the state’s governor.
Mayor Mike Signer said recent clashes over race and the Confederacy had turned “equestrian statues into lightning rods” and urged Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to convene a special session of the General Assembly.
Signer’s statement came nearly a week after white supremacists descended on the city and violently clashed with counter protesters. One woman was killed Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of people there to condemn what is believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade.
“We can, and we must, respond by denying the Nazis and the KKK and the so-called alt-right the twisted totem they seek,” Signer said in a statement.