CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 22:  The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee stands in the center of the renamed Emancipation Park on August 22, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. A decision to remove the statue caused a violent protest by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and members of the 'alt-right'.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Shrouds covered monuments at midday

Initially, city officials had struggled to find a supplier for such large swaths of material

(CNN) —  

Workers in Charlottesville, Virginia, placed large black tarps Wednesday over two monuments to Confederate military generals, according to video from CNN affiliate WVIR.

The statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park and the statue of Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in Justice Park were each covered with a tarp. The monuments were the focus of violent protests earlier this month.

Hunting down fabric swaths large enough to drape over the monuments had proven tough, City Council clerk Paige Rice told CNN. But by Wednesday morning, the shrouds were on their way, she said. “The drapes have been ordered and may be in place by the end of the week, pending department resources to properly secure them at both statues,” she said.

“The tarps came in earlier than we expected and we had staff available today to cover up the monuments so that is what we did,” said Joe Rice, Charlottesville communications coordinator.

At a heated meeting Monday, the City Council unanimously voted to cover the two statues in black.

The vote was meant to signal the city mourning the death of Heather Heyer, who was killed August 12 when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters who had gathered to oppose a rally of white nationalist and other right-wing organizations.

City workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Wednesday.
Steve Helber/AP
City workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Wednesday.

Such groups have been drawn to Charlottesville since the council voted in February to remove the Lee monument from its central downtown spot; that decision is being challenged in court.

Initially, finding weatherproof fabric large enough to cover the statues wasn’t easy, Rice said, noting that the city tried “to get in touch with event companies or other cities who have done something similar to see where they got the shrouds.”

She could not immediately provide the name of the fabric supplier.

A few hours after the Lee statute was covered, two men stood near the monument holding a large confederate flag, arguing with passersby.

This story has been updated to reflect the latest information from Charlottesville officials regarding their efforts to cover two Confederate statues.

CNN’s Amanda Watts contributed to this report.