Calls to remove controversial monuments in Seattle area

With the movement to remove confederate statues on the East Coast, some are taking aim at controversial monuments in the Seattle area.

With the movement to take down Confederate statues on the East Coast, some are demanding the removal of controversial monuments in Seattle.

In the Fremont neighborhood, a statue of Vladimir Lenin has sat at North 36th Street and Fremont Place North since the mid-1990s. Today, it's mostly a tourist attraction.

Purchased in Poland by an Issaquah man after the Cold War, the seven-ton bronze statue ended up in Fremont when he died. His family is still looking for a buyer.

About a half-dozen protesters showed up wearing MAGA clothing, chanting, "Remove the hate."

"This is offensive," said Tony Barger. "This should be taken down. This is an actual Russian relic and should not be here on American soil."

Some locals tried to intercede and explain to them the statue inspires discussion about art and history.

"We're at a dangerous place in our country's history. No one should support Lenin; no one should support Hitler. But there are bigger fish to fry than a statue of Lenin in Fremont," said Barbara Mitchell.

At one point, demonstrators showed up holding pro-Lenin signs. Seattle Police parked a patrol car across the street to monitor the area.

In a much quieter setting on Capitol Hill, a memorial for Confederate soldiers has stood for almost a century in Seattle's Lake View Cemetery.

Wednesday a landscaping truck parked closely in front of it. Management said groundskeepers left it there due to concerns of property damage.

Assistant Cemetery Manager Craig Lohr explained a private party purchased the memorial and the land it sits on.  The cemetery doesn't have the right to remove it.

Lohr said Lake View has Muslims, Jews and people of all different races laid to rest there. The cemetery has always been a symbol of diversity.  

Ashley Rombro and her family were visiting the cemetery's big attraction, the Bruce Lee memorial. She's from Baltimore, a city that removed four Confederate statues overnight.

"Those terrible, terrible moments in our history happened, and the answer is not removing evidence of those; the answer is discussing them," she said.

Lake View Cemetery eventually shut its gates early Wednesday, after hearing online posts threatening to take the memorial down.

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© 2017 KING-TV


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