ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama county plans to spend more than $3,000 building a fence to protect a Confederate monument and rebel banner that have been the subject of repeated demonstrations outside the courthouse since summer, the commission chairman said.
The stone marker and battle flag outside the Marshall County Courthouse have been the scene of repeated protests during national demonstrations against the police killing of George Floyd. Opponents want both removed.
Commission chair James Hutcheson told WAFF-TV that leaders plan to erect a fence around the monument to protect it and a war memorial outside the building in Albertville. Work will begin within a month, he said, and the fence will cost about $3,500.
“So, I say it’s been in the planning since 2017 and we just wanted to finish it up. It will have a gate so we will have access to it, and so it’s just finishing the renovations and projects at the courthouse,” Hutchenson said.
Deputies have been called repeatedly about people touching or placing items on the monuments, said Sheriff Phil Sims.
“We were concerned about all of the monuments up there, not just one that everybody is paying attention to. So, my suggestion was to put the posts up and wrap police tape around it to keep everyone from damaging the monuments,” said Sims.
A Confederate heritage group installed the Civil War monument in 1996.
Located northeast of Birmingham, Marshall County has a population of 97,000 that’s about 93% white, Census statistics show.
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