As word leaked that the monument would be removed, supporters and opponents of the action galvanized their forces.
“What will you tell your children and grandchildren about the time the enemy ordered the removal of our monument to our brave heroes?” the Georgia Minutemen wrote on their Facebook page in asking opponents of the removal to come out.
But unlike other recent monument removals, there were no cheers of joy or boos of dismay as it was taken down Tuesday.
Henry Police put supporters and opponents of the monument’s dismantling about three blocks away from the square where they were unable to witness the event. With around 200 in attendance, police said they separated the groups into two individual camps for their safety and to reduce any friction.
At one point, opponents of the monument tried to march to confront the structure’s supporters, but police stopped the two groups from a face-to-face meeting. They briefly got close enough to shout “Black Lives Matter” and “all lives matter” at each other.
Ray McBerry, the Georgia Minutemen founder, was arrested on charges of obstruction early in the evening, but later release with a citation, a police department spokeswoman said.
Elton Alexander, a member of the Stockbridge City Council — Stockbridge is Henry’s biggest city — approved of the county’s action.
“I am overjoyed on this historic night when Henry County officially embraced diversity and inclusion in the week civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis will be laid to rest,” he said.