A towering barrier was erected around the controversial emancipation memorial in Washington, DC — which depicts a slave kneeling at the feet of Abraham Lincoln — to prevent protesters from tearing it down, according to a report Friday.
Crews built the roughly 10-foot-tall, chain link-style fence in Lincoln Park Thursday after demonstrators criticized the 1876 sculpture for celebrating black subservience — and vowed to remove it by any means possible, the Daily Mail reported.
The move to defend the statue comes after President Trump sent 400 unarmed National Guard troops to the area earlier this week to protect monuments amid protests over racial injustice and the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
On Tuesday, protesters flocked to the statue to demand it be torn down, saying the former slaves who funded it had no say in its design, and that it has become a symbol of White Supremacy.
It wasn’t clear whether those demonstrators planned to topple the monument themselves or simply demand that officials remove it, The Washington Post reported. But organizers said they did not want to work with police and would achieve their goal “by any means necessary” as they flooded the park.
“[Lincoln] freed the slaves for political advancement,” one speaker said at a rally in front of the memorial on Tuesday, according to WUSA9 journalist Tom Dempsey. “Not because he cared, not because he wanted to.”
Police in DC have pledged to prevent the monument from being damaged, with one spokesman saying, “We certainly will not allow for the destruction of property in the city,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
A copy of the statue was also erected in Boston, where critics are petitioning for its removal too. The city was home to home to the statue’s white creator Thomas Ball.
Other known critics of the statue’s design include Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist who escaped slavery.
An inscription on the monument reads: “A race set free and the country at peace. Lincoln rests from his labors.”
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