Robert E. Lee statue supporters protest possible statue removal

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- More people were demonstrating at the Robert E. Lee Statue on Friday, and this time they were against removing the statue.

The statue has been in the park for more than 90 years, and some say it's racist, hurtful and revolting, while others say not only is it art, it is Virginia history and it should be preserved.

With the push for it to come down, three people from outside the city came to the park on Friday to say "no" and they were pretty hard to miss.

The three came proudly waving their Confederate flags with one goal in mind, speaking up for the monument.

Michael Lucus, one of the statue's supporters, says the group came to have open dialogue and educate people on their position to keep Lee where he stands.

"Was it to offend African-Americans or to preserve the memory of a noble solider who defended the state of Virginia," asked Lucus. "You get both sides of the story, including conflicting interests and perceptions of it, but one thing that's good about it though is it's bringing people together to talk about those perceptions."

Some Charlottesville residents suggested the city should keep the statue, but add another statue of civil rights leader Julian Bond. Lucus rejected that idea, but he said he would support a statue of a former slave like Isabella Gibbons, who was one of Charlottesville's first black teachers.

The original petition to remove the statue was started by a Charlottesville High School student and has about 400 signatures. Another petition was started by an Elkton woman to keep the statue, and it has 4,000 signatures. It isn't clear which of the two has more supporters from the city of Charlottesville.

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