Protesters in Virginia beheaded four Confederate statues and pulled down another with a tow rope on Wednesday night.
Photos and videos posted on Twitter showed a demonstrator taking a sledgehammer to the head of one of the statues on the Portsmouth Confederate monument, which was built in the late 1800s and is said to sit at a site where slaves were whipped.
The Portsmouth City Council had a July 28 hearing to decide on the fate of the monument following demands that it be moved, according to local outlet 13News Now.
But protesters took matters into their own hands, gathering at the monument and covering it in black, green and red spray paint on Wednesday afternoon.
They wrote “Black Lives Matter” and the name of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man whose police-related death touched off a global reckoning over racial injustice.
The crowd grew by 8 p.m., and one person dumped a bucket of yellow paint on the monument, while others threw water bottles at it, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
One clip showed a man tying a tow rope to one of the statues, pulling it down as the music played and protesters chanted.
A protester was injured as the statue fell and medics worked to help him before police cleared the area, according to the newspaper.
The rope apparently snapped, but protesters continued to try to tear the statues down, including by using bolt cutters.
The demonstrators handed out a sword and rifle ripped from the monument to 73-year-old Vietnam veteran John Hooks.
“A mixed bag of emotions,” Hooks told the Pilot. “This is where they sold us into slavery.”
“You keep your foot in our neck for 401 damn years,” he added. “When are you going to get the hell off?”
Later, an American flag was lit on fire and tied to the monument.