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Politics & Government

Crowd clashes over Confederate soldier statue during peaceful protest in Allendale

protesters around a statue
steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

A statue of a confederate soldier was the focus of a large protest Saturday in west Michigan.

The protest was largely peaceful, with a few heated exchanges between those for and against the confederate statue in the Allendale park.

Critics’ chants of “take it down” were countered by supporters chanting “U-S-A.”

The confederate figure stands back-to-back with a Union soldier. An enslaved child crouches between them clutching a scroll reading “Freedom to Slaves.”

The memorial was erected in the late 1990s, and honors servicemen and women dating back to the American Revolution. 

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Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio
The confederate figure stands back-to-back with a Union soldier. An enslaved child crouches between them clutching a scroll reading “Freedom to Slaves.”

Rally organizer Sonja Schultz-Fryer says it’s wrong for the Confederate statute to stand in a memorial to American soldiers.

“Why we are glorifying a group of people who lost the war.... They were treasonous,” says Schultz-Fryer.

But its defenders say the statue represents American history.

“We’re standing here today to say you can protest but you can’t tear down property.  You can’t tear down statues.  You cannot erase the past,” says Ryan Kelly, who organized the counter protest.

On Tuesday, Allendale township officials are scheduled to vote on whether to remove the statue.  

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