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Richmond Crowd Cheers as Robert E. Lee Statue Removed: 'Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye!'

Newsweek logo Newsweek 9/8/2021 Alexandra Hutzler
a group of people in a park: On Wednesday, a crowd cheered on the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia. In this photo, people gather around the statue on Monument Avenue on June 4, 2020. © Ryan M. Kelly/AFP via Getty Images On Wednesday, a crowd cheered on the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia. In this photo, people gather around the statue on Monument Avenue on June 4, 2020.

Richmond, Virginia residents cheered as the country's largest Confederate statue was taken down on Wednesday.

As crews removed the towering Robert E. Lee statue from its 40-foot-tall pedestal, those gathered at the site began to sing a famous song from the band Steam.

"Hey hey hey, goodbye!" the crowd chanted.

The statue's removal comes 131 years after it was erected. Governor Ralph Northam first ordered it to be taken down in June 2020 following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

But a year-long legal battle delayed Northam's order until last week when the Virginia Supreme Court sided with government officials and ruled the statue could be dissembled.

"This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a Commonwealth," Northam said in a statement on Monday.

The statue will be placed in storage at a state-owned facility until a decision is made on what exactly to do with it. The pedestal, which supported the structure, will remain at its location for now until the city and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts determine its future.

This is a developing story and will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.

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