US city says it will on Saturday remove statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee – that became a rallying point for white supremacists and other racist groups in 2017 leading to killing of a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer.

The development comes more than five years after a 2016 removal push focused on the Robert E Lee statue.
The development comes more than five years after a 2016 removal push focused on the Robert E Lee statue. (AP)

A Confederate monument that helped spark a violent white supremacist rally in US city of Charlottesville is set to come down, the city has announced.

Charlottesville said on Friday in a news release that the equestrian statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee as well as a nearby one of Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson will be removed on Saturday. 

Designated public viewing areas for the removals will be established in both parks where the statues are located, the news release said.

Rallying point for white supremacists

The development comes more than five years after a 2016 removal push focused on the Lee statue. 

As those plans emerged, the Lee monument became a rallying point for white supremacists and other racist groups, culminating in the violent "Unite the Right" rally in 2017.

In those protests and counter-protests, James Alex Fields Jr drove his car into a crowd, wounding dozens of peaceful protesters and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Because of litigation and changes to a state law dealing with war memorials, the city had been unable to act until now.

Preparations around the parks will begin Friday and include the installation of protective fencing, according to the news release. 

The city said only the statuary will be removed for now. 

The stone bases will be left in place temporarily and removed later.

Source: AP