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US House passes bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The US House of Representatives has voted to remove all the Confederate statues from public display in the US Capitol.

The House passed the legislation with a bipartisan vote of 285-120, with all “no” votes coming from the Republicans.

The bill will include all the statues displayed in the National Statuary Hall Collection, including that of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

“We ought not to forget history. We must learn from history. But we ought not to honor that which defiled the principles for which we think we stand,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “It's time to remove those symbols of slavery, segregation and sedition from these halls.”

Meanwhile, Republicans who voted against the bill have warned that removing the Confederate statues would irreparable consequences.

"Unfortunately, Democrats, animated by the Critical Race Theory concepts of structural racism, microaggressions, and a United States based solely on white supremacy, have chosen to remove statues that underscore the failures of our pre-1861 Constitution. Make no mistake, those who won the West and George Washington are next," said Rep. Matt Rosendale.

The efforts by civil rights groups and others to destroy the Confederate monuments, such as the controversial “Silent Sam” statue on the campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, gained momentum six years ago after a 21-year-old white supremacist, Dylann Roof, opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, leaving nine African-American worshipers dead in June 2015.

According to the US media reports, nearly 168 Confederate symbols have been removed across the United States only in 2020 in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

The Confederate battle flag was first raised atop the South Carolina State House in 1962, as part of the US Civil War centennial commemoration.

The Confederate States of America was an unrecognized confederation of secessionist states, whose agriculture-based economy largely relied upon the labor of black slaves.

The American forces supporting pro-slavery states carried the flag into battle during the1861-1865 American Civil War.

A lot of Americans see such statues as symbols of racism and glorifications of the southern states’ defense of slavery in the Civil War.

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