Despite violent reactions over the planned removal of a Confederate monument in Virginia, city leaders across the United States say they will step up their efforts to remove such statues from public view.

Confederate monuments are a symbol of hate

Mayors in the towns Lexington, Kentucky, and Baltimore have vowed to continue with plans to get rid of monuments that have been at the center of debate in the United States, on whether to retain the symbols. The symbols, which commemorate the United State's Civil War's pro-slavery, Confederacy, are seen by many as a reminder of the country's hate-filled past.

On Monday, state officials from Florida and Tennessee announced new plans to topple Confederate monuments. Bill Haslam, the Governor of Tennessee, is pressuring lawmakers to get rid of a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was a Confederate army official and a pioneer member of the racist Ku Klux Klan.

In an interview on Monday, Jim Gray, the Mayor of Lexington, said that the time has come for people to stand up and speak out on the hate that the monuments symbolize. The Mayor was speaking after the violent scenes that were witnessed in Charlottesville. The clashes pitting white supremacists and opposing protesters left three people dead. Among the dead were two law enforcement officers, who perished after their helicopter crashed.

The violence seems to have catalyzed the struggle to have US the Civil War monuments taken down. The monuments include memorials, flags and other objects that remind US citizens of the dark day of the Confederacy.

However, some pro-removal proponents seem to have decided to take the struggle into their own hands. On Monday, a group of protestors made their way into a Confederate monument in North Carolina and brought down the bronze statue.

Television images showed the animated protesters taking turns kicking and cursing at the memorial, with the others cheering them on.

Vandalized monuments

The Baltimore Sun reported that on Saturday, a monument of a dead Confederate soldier was vandalized. The monument, showing the Confederate soldier dying in the embrace of an angel, was found defaced by red paint.

US civil rights activists started a more determined push to have Confederate monuments banished after a dedicated white supremacist murdered nine African-Americans. The white supremacist killed the people in 2015 at a Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Reuters says that as of April this year, approximately sixty symbols Confederate monuments had been renamed or taken down across the United States.