DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – County crews removed the controversial Confederate statue in front of the Chatham County Courthouse early Wednesday morning.
County officials said they removed the statue at night to better ensure public safety and lessen the impact on the traveling public.
The removal comes after several weeks of protests have erupted in Pittsboro as different groups argued whether the statue should remain at the courthouse.
As CBS 17 previously reported, Chatham County commissioners voted in August to have the statue removed.
The Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy sued the county in an effort to stop it.
Last week, a judge denied that motion, which allowed the county to take the statue down.
According to county officials, the county spent $44,000 to have the statue and the pedestal removed. The County will pay for this project using County funds.
The statue has been taken to a storage facility in Greensboro where it will be preserved until the United Daughters of the Confederacy decide what to do with it. The cost of storage is $300 per month.
As protests escalated week by week, county officials said they have spent more than $140,000 related to security measures over the last three months.
CBS 17 spoke with some people in Pittsboro on Wednesday who said they were glad the statue had come down.
“I can understand why people would want to see it go,” said Tim Shaw. “They see it as a symbol of slavery and racism. I think with it being placed in such a prominent area, it is just sort of continuing to rub things in.”
However, some Confederate supporters told CBS 17 their hearts broke as the statue came down.
Robert Butler stayed out all night in the rain and watched as the statue came down.
“It did rain, someone mentioned that they were tears from a soldier,” Butler said. “It’s just sad that they are destroying history.”
Butler and several other Confederate supporters were rallying in front of the courthouse on Wednesday to show their support for the confederate monument and the fallen soldiers it represents.
“It was put up to memorialize dead soldiers that never got to come home,” Butler said. “You can take our monument away, but you can’t take our history and our honor away, we are going to respect our dead soldiers.”
Butler said he and other confederate supporters will be rallying in front of the courthouse every weekend for the next several weeks.
The County’s motion to dismiss the UDC’s lawsuit is scheduled to be heard on December 2, 2019.
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