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Government spends millions to guard Confederate cemeteries

In this Aug. 22, 2017, photo, Bert Cambron, left, and Mark Wilson, employees of Dayton National Cemetery, move the vandalized Civil War Confederate soldier statue that stood in Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. Two days later, the VA contracted with the Westmoreland Protection Agency, based in Sunrise, Fla., to provide unarmed security guards at Camp Chase and two other cemeteries. After last year’s deadly clash between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., the federal government quietly spent millions of dollars to hire private security guards to stand watch over several Confederate cemeteries, documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs show. (Eric Albrecht/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

ALTON, Ill. (AP) After last year’s deadly clash between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, the federal government quietly spent millions of dollars to hire private security guards to stand watch over at least eight Confederate cemeteries.

That’s according to documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs reviewed by The Associated Press.

The security runs around the clock at all but one of those VA-operated cemeteries. The effort is aimed at preventing the kind of damage that befell Confederate memorials across the U.S. in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence.

None of the guarded cemeteries has been vandalized since the security was put in place.

Records show that the VA has spent nearly $3 million on the cemetery security since August 2017. The agency has not determined when the security will cease.