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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Protesters Still Hope to Save Monument

Aired August 27, 2003 - 19:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And a good evening to you. Thanks for joining us. We start tonight with the controversy in Alabama.
The 2.5-ton version of the Ten Commandments is no longer on display in the rotunda of the state's judicial building.

But as David Mattingly shows moving day for the monument has not solved the problems it's created.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rumors that the monument would be moved had been flying since the night before, so a larger than normal crowd on the steps of the Alabama Supreme Court building rallied early.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... will be moved. Today, we would still praise you and magnify you.

MATTINGLY: Some demonstrators have been watching, waiting and resisting a federal deadline that passed last Wednesday. But at mid- morning, the moment they had tried to stop seemed to be at hand.

Several men surveyed the monument, preparing for the move. Planned acts of civil disobedience, however, did not happen. Instead there were long moments of intense prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please God, please, don't abandon us, God. Don't give us over to our enemies, God.

MATTINGLY: Then at 10:04 a.m. Eastern time, the 29.5-ton granite monument was lifted and rolled into storage out of public view, an act months in the making, accomplished in less than 30 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put it back!

MATTINGLY: Outside, anger, sadness, and more defiance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The word of Jesus Christ himself.

MATTINGLY: And soon, another defeat. A federal judge dismissed a late lawsuit that attempted to keep the monument on public display.

REV. ROB SCHENCK, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL CLERGY COUNCIL: There is a lot of explaining to do in this state. There is a governor who must explain himself. There is an attorney general who must explain himself.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor repeating his position tonight that the state acted properly in going along with that court order. He also said, though, that he wanted to repeat his personal position on this, that he believed that the display of the Ten Commandments here was appropriate.

But there are people who here who say you can't have it both ways and they'll be remembering Alabama public officials come election time -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's not over yet. David Mattingly, thanks very much.

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