A large group of armed protesters on Saturday marched through Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, calling for the park’s massive Confederate carving to be removed.
The predominantly Black demonstrators spoke out against the huge sculpture depicting Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, WXIA-TV reported. Carved into a granite mountain, the bas-relief sculpture is the largest Confederate monument ever crafted.
Stone Mountain Memorial Association spokesman John Bankhead said there were between 100 and 200 protesters. He said the protesters, many of whom carried large rifles, were peaceful. Nonetheless nine protesters were arrested. Most of the marchers wore protective masks.
Although the park has historically been a gathering spot for white supremacists, the city of Stone Mountain nowadays has a majority-Black population.
The park usually holds a Fourth of July laser show and fireworks display with the carving as a backdrop, but this year’s presentation was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.