US city of Charlottesville covers statues of Confederate generals

A planned removal of the controversial statues has been delayed as a result of a pending lawsuit

US city of Charlottesville covers statues of Confederate generals

City workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation park in Charlottesville. Picture by: Steve Helber/AP/Press Association Images

The US city of Charlottesville has covered two statues of Confederate army generals with black tarpaulins.

The decision was made during a heated meeting between town councillors.

A protest earlier this month regarding the future of the statues ended in clashes between white supremacists and anti-fascists and the death of a woman.

The councillors voted unanimously to cover the monuments, as residents demanded to know how the 12 August protest had got so badly out of hand.

The protesters had focused on the statue of Robert E Lee which, along with one of fellow Confederate general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, is earmarked by the council to be removed.

The removal has been delayed, however, because of a pending lawsuit. Meanwhile, the council has ordered them to be covered.

Robert E Lee V, the great-great-grandson of the Confederate general, said the family hates to see the statues be a source of division.

"If taking down the statues helps us not have days like Charlottesville, then we're all for it," Mr Lee said. "Take 'em down tonight."

General Lee was a major figure in the Confederate Army during the American civil war and led the fight for the preservation of slavery amongst other things.

Civil rights groups have led calls for Confederate symbols to be removed, but supporters say they are a reminder of the region's heritage.

Separately, a man who featured in a widely viewed documentary about the Charlottesville white nationalist demonstrations has handed himself into police.

According to CNN, Christopher Cantwell has turned himself in after a tearful video went viral - in it he claimed he acted in defence of others during the protests.

Cantwell is understood to be facing a number of charges, including one count of malicious bodily injury with a caustic substance.