Workers in Richmond, VA removed the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson before a raucous crowd of protesters after weeks of sustained demonstrations and on the heels of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordering the removal of Confederate monuments across the state.

The workers spent several hours detaching the imposing statue from its base. The mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney, is looking to accelerate the removal process in hopes of deterring protesters from attempting to pull the statues down themselves and risking grave bodily injury, or worse. “Failing to remove the statues now poses a severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety,” said Stoney.

“Those statues stood high for over 100 years for a reason, and it was to intimidate and to show Black and brown people in this city who was in charge,” he continued. “I think the healing can now begin in the city of Richmond.”