Maryland authorities have taken down a statue of a 19th century chief justice who wrote an infamous pro-slavery decision, the latest example of action across the United States over memorials that have triggered racially charged protests.
Meanwhile, the mother of a woman killed when a man crashed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in the Virginia city of Charlottesville last week said that after hearing Donald Trump’s latest comments, she did not want to talk to the president.
In what has become the biggest domestic crisis of his presidency, Trump has been strongly criticised, including by many fellow Republicans, for blaming the Charlottesville violence not only on the rally organisers, but also the anti-racism activists who opposed them.
Crews in Maryland’s state capital, Annapolis, removed the 145-year-old bronze statue of Roger Taney from its base outside State House overnight using a crane, local media showed.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, had called on Wednesday for the monument to be taken down immediately. Taney’s 1857 ruling, known as the Dred Scott decision, reaffirmed slavery and said black people could not be US citizens.
0:00 Mounting criticism of US President as the political fallout continues Share Mounting criticism of US President as the political fallout continues
Opponents of monuments to the Confederate states, which fought in the US Civil War for the preservation of slavery, view them as a festering symbol of racism.
Supporters say they honour American history, and some of the monuments have become rallying points for white nationalists.
In North Carolina, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said his officers were preparing for a possible march by white nationalists in front of a Durham city courthouse on Friday, the News & Observer newspaper reported. Protesters tore down a Confederate statue in the city earlier this week.
Efforts to remove many such statues around the country have been stepped up since the Charlottesville rally, called by white nationalists to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Trump on Thursday decried the removal of Confederate monuments, drawing stinging rebukes from fellow Republicans in a controversy that has inflamed racial tensions nationwide.