(Reuters) - Work crews took down four Confederate monuments in Baltimore overnight into Wednesday, days after white nationalists led a deadly protest over the planned removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Monuments to Robert E. Lee, commander of the pro-slavery Confederate army in the American Civil War, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, a Confederate general, were dismantled from the city's Wyman Park Dell after the city council on Monday approved the removal of four statues, the Baltimore Sun reported.
"It's done," Mayor Catherine Pugh told the newspaper on Wednesday. "They need to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could."
The swift dismantling of the monuments, which Pugh said began at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday (0330 GMT on Wednesday) and finished at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT), comes after a rally by white nationalists protesting against plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee sparked clashes with anti-racism demonstrators in Charlottesville on Saturday.
The rally turned deadly when a car rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people.
"Following the acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white supremacist terrorist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, cities must act decisively and immediately by removing these monuments," Baltimore city councilman Brandon Scott wrote in a resolution calling for the removal of the statues, according to the Sun.
Saturday's violence appears to have accelerated the drive to remove memorials, flags and other reminders of the Confederate cause across the United States.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Andrew Bolton)