Multiple Robert E. Lee Road signs defaced in South Austin

The name of the street has been a point of contention for years. Robert E. Lee Road is in Council Member Ann Kitchen's District - and accordingly, she is the one planning to formally apply for the street to be renamed.

A day after a violent and deadly outbreak at a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, some unidentified Austinites damaged four street signs in South Austin that are named after a Confederate general.

The Robert E. Lee Road signs that intersect at Trailside Drive, Spring Creek Drive, Barton Hills Drive and Lund Street were all found Sunday with red lines covering them. An official with the City of Austin's transportation department told KVUE Monday that this is the first time those four road signs have been vandalized to the department's knowledge. She said the signs will have to be replaced because graffiti removal material will likely damage the reflective quality of the signs. The department said it will cost about $700 to replace them in the next two weeks.

The Austin Police Department said they received a report at around noon Sunday about the incident. They do not have any suspects at this time.

This act of vandalism in Austin comes after a white nationalist rally was held in Virginia.

The "Unite the Right" rally's original purpose was to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. State officials called the meeting between alt-right demonstrators, counter-protesters, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and supporters of Black Lives Matter an "unlawful assembly" that eventually led to the death of a 32-year-old woman and left 19 other people injured.

Controversy over statues, signs and even schools honoring Confederate generals has grown in Central Texas following the Charleston massacre that left nine people dead inside of a church.

In August 2015, the University of Texas removed the Jefferson Davis statue from the main mall on campus.

Austin Independent School District voted to change the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School to Russel Lee Elementary in May 2016

Currently, there's a petition on MoveOn.org gathering signatures to rename Robert E. Lee Road. As of Monday, Aug. 14, it's garnered over 600 signatures with a goal of 750.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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