The Oakland Zoo has reportedly removed a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments from its property -- just days before a planned weekend protest by a local atheist groups.
The Oakland Tribune reports that zoo officials said Wednesday’s removal had been previously and was not connected to plans by the East Bay Atheists and Atheists Advocates of San Francisco, which intended to picket the zoo to demand that the monument be removed.
"We had been wanting to do it for a long time," Joel Parrott, CEO and president of the zoo, told the newspaper. "Now, it just seemed like it was a proper time."
Parrott said he began considering to remove the monuments when lawsuits over the religious displays on public land began arising in the early 2000s.
Protest organizers were surprised at the zoo's decision but do not think the zoo's timing was only a coincidence, the newspaper reports.