ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The three-story tall Confederate monument in Forest Park continues to stir passion on both sides of the issue.

Related Story: Alderwoman Introduces Plan to Remove Confederate Monument

People were getting hot under the collar at the site of the controversial statue, which depicts a soldier being sent off to fight for the South in the Civil War.

Trying to protect the monument from damage is Bill Hannegan, whose great-grandfather helped get the statue approved. He says attention from former Mayor Francis Slay ignited the controversy.

“It might have happened anyway, but as soon as he [Francis Slay] started making a big deal about the monument, I said ‘Oh no, it’s going to get hurt'” Hannegan says.

confederate monument protest Protesters Clash at the Confederate Monument in Forest Park

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

Monument supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters clashed at the site Tuesday evening. Jeff Duncan drove up from Arnold when he learned some harm might come to the statue.

statue1 Protesters Clash at the Confederate Monument in Forest Park

(Photo courtesy of Bill Hannegan)

“We’re not against the mayor taking it down, but we are against her putting it in dark storage not to be shown for future generations to learn off it.”

Many of the detractors on hand were wearing masks and shied away from the media that turned out, saying their actions spoke for them.

A couple of dozen police officers arrived at the scene to keep the peace.

But after they left the scene, Hannegan reported that somebody came back and defaced the statue with spray paint.

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