More city leaders, organizations take sides on Confederate statue removal

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The deadly Virginia protest is sparking conversation.

Now, Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey said peaceful protests will ultimately lead to changes to Confederate monuments.

He is wanted the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Midtown and Jefferson Davis statue in downtown removed for decades.

"Throughout history, we would be in segregation, if it weren't for direct action in part of protectors, peaceful protesters," said Bailey.

Bailey has supported the protests popping up this week.

"You can forget the legislature! They're hopeless. They're so embedded in their appreciation of who they are as Southerners," he said.

City leaders said they're working to get the statues removed, but the process has been difficult due to a state law preventing the city from removing the monuments.

On Thursday, the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce joined the fight.

In a statement, the media spokesperson wrote:

"In 2013, the Greater Memphis Chamber supported the name change of the Confederate parks and the removal of these statues. We have been consistent in our position that we are opposed to any symbol that divides us and is a detriment to our ability to attract and retain business and people to our community. We support our city’s action to remove the statues and look forward to moving Memphis forward in our creation of jobs, attraction of business and enjoyment of public spaces for all."

Others stopped by the statues all day letting their voices be heard.

Matt Watson told WREG he wants the monument gone as he waived his Christian flag.

"To pray and stand against any racism that exists in the city, and we believe few in number can make a difference," he said.

Meanwhile, Eddie Wilson snapped pictures in case the statues get torn down.

"I don't think they should take it down. Good or bad, it's part of our history. We need to remember this if people think this a good man or not a good man," he said.

Law enforcement said they will be posted at the statues 24/7.

"Officers are currently detailed to both the Health Science Park and Memphis Park due to the recent volatile encounters that have occurred throughout our nation relative to the controversy over Confederate statues," said Lt. Karen Rudolph with the Memphis Police.

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