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Removal of Jefferson Davis statue sparks pre-dawn protests in New Orleans

Removal of Jefferson Davis statue sparks pre-dawn protests in New Orleans

Masked crews worked in the dark Thursday to remove the monument to former Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

The Liberty Place monument was taken down without advance notice in the dead of night by workers in masks and body armor.

The early-morning removal of the controversial statue was no mistake, as city officials had reportedly hoped to avoid too many protests. After years of heated public debate and legal battles, recent court decisions paved the way for the city to relocate the four monuments. However, that doesn't mean we must valorize the ugliest chapters, as we do when we put the Confederacy on a pedestal - literally - in our most prominent public places.

Last week, an unidentified contractor who was hired by the city told a Fox affiliate that his business had received threats from people across the country after his company dropped off fencing, which was then used to surround the Jefferson Davis monument. Statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard are still standing.

The statue of Jefferson Davis is removed from its base in New Orleans as police officers stand watch early Thursday.

Confederate-flag-waving protesters and pro-removal demonstrators yelled at each other from barricades police erected to separate them. Mayor Landrieu says the removals are to make "New Orleans more diverse, but Landrieu can not be inclusive, tolerant, or diverse when he is erasing a very specific and undeniable part of New Orleans' history", said Pierre McGraw, President of the Monumental Task Committee.

After we're done moving these monuments, we'll face an even greater task: coming together to decide who we are as a city - and as a nation.

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The 6-foot tall bronze statue was removed by workers using green plastic and yellow straps, CNN reported.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for removal of the Confederate memorials in New Orleans in the same spirit.

Multiple protesters were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace on Sunday after a fight broke out at an event held to celebrate the removal of the Liberty Place monument. The city said it wants to relocate them to a museum or other suitable site. The obelisk was in tribute to whites who battled the biracial Reconstruction government installed in New Orleans after the Civil War.

According to our partners at the Advocate, the statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis will be removed sometime after midnight.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who supports the removals, was also targeted by supporters of the monument as they chanted "Mitch for prison".

The statues in New Orleans are part of a controversy surrounding Confederate symbols over whether they represent slavery and racial injustice, or heritage.

New Orleans' Jefferson Davis monument was defaced in 2004 with the words "Slave Owner".


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