Maybe removing statues have become the new trend for expressing discontent. Who knows what will be next. People are becoming their worst enemies for free speech. Having memorial symbols in public is a form of free speech in my opinion.
There are limits to so-called "free speech" in any societies, even those where it is fetishised. In Austria, Germany, Spain, etc, they have been removing memorials to Hitler and Franco (both dictators). Many people see Confederate monuments, the flag, etc, in a similar light (slavery, ever heard of that?) - not just historically but as a rallying point for murderous domestic terrorism. The "free speech" rights (if there are any) of the pro-statue or monument people have to be balanced against those of the victims, and the benefits to society. This is the type of decision that is frequently made in democratic societies.