Anonymous hacktivists call for Confederate statues to be torn down on ‘Denouncement Day’ in wake of Charlottesville violence

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Anonymous hacktivists call for Confederate statues to be torn down on ‘Denouncement Day’ in wake of Charlottesville violence

Hacktivist group Anonymous has announced a day of action on Friday, August 18, calling on its followers to tear down Confederate statues across America in response to the violence in Charlottesville last weekend.

In a statement, Anonymous said that the so-called “Denouncement Day” would “give everyone the opportunity to tear down symbols of hate”.

It named several well-known Confederate monuments as “event locations”, including the Statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes in Mobile, Alabama, the Statue of The Dead Confederates in Lakeland, Florida, the Confederate Monument in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Robert Edward Lee Sculpture in Charlottesville, Virginia.

All of these monuments honour leaders and soldiers of the Confederate States of America – those that continued to hold slaves during the American Civil War.

Statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes in Mobile, Alabama
(Image: Archive Photos)

The monuments and memorials have become increasingly controversial due to differing interpretations of their meaning and importance.

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Many were built in periods of racial conflict, such as when Jim Crow laws were introduced at the start of the 20th century, or during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Historians have found that Confederate monuments were not built primarily as historical markers, but were instead intended to glorify and commemorate the Confederacy.

“It’s time to denounce the Confederacy. To denounce racism, bigotry, and hate. It is time to take down these monuments of hate to ourselves. Overthrow terror,” proclaims Anonymous in its statement.

(Image: Universal Images Group Editorial)

Denouncement Day has is scheduled to take place on August 18 at 18:00 ET (23:00 BST). Anonymous is using the hashtag #DayToDenounce to drum up support on social media.

The move comes after a civil rights activist was killed during violence at a far-right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, against plans to remove of a statue of Robert E Lee, who commanded the Confederate army of northern Virginia.

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In the days since, officials in cities ranging from Lexington, Kentucky, and Memphis, Tennessee, to Baltimore, Maryland, have moved to advance plans to take down Confederate monuments.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a political organisation made up of the African-American members of the US Congress, have also revived calls to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol in Washington, DC.

(Image: Photographer’s Choice)

“Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol,” said Bennie Thompson, Representative for Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district, in a statement.

“These images symbolise a time of racial discrimination and segregation that continues to haunt this country and many African-Americans who still to this day face racism and bigotry.”

Meanwhile, President Trump pushed back against the initiatives to remove Confederate memorials during a press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday.

“This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” Trump said.

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