Protesters clash over fate of Confederate monuments in New Orleans

Protesters clash over fate of Confederate monuments in New Orleans

New Orleans was sued Monday by a preservationist seeking to stop the city from removing a statue of a Confederate general that critics say glorifies the era of slavery in the U.S. South.

In this undated photo, Confederate Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard, commander of the South Carolina Confederate forces on the attack on Fort Sumter, is shown.

"The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion and tolerance", said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a statement on April 24.

On Sunday, supporters of the monuments, some waving Confederate flags, clashed with demonstrators near the site of a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee that is also slated for removal.

Antifa activists have also been accused of spraying graffiti on another of the statues and also painting "tear it down" on a monument to Joan of Arc, a figure from French history who had no connection to the Confederacy.

City officials have been trying to move the Confederate monuments since 2015, and pro-statue groups have been protesting ever since.

Aaron Miller, director of New Orleans' Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said authorities had received "serious and credible threats of violence" in connection with the monuments.


One of the monuments, a tribute to the Battle of Liberty Place, an obelisk honoring a violent uprising in 1874 by white New Orleanians who rejected Reconstruction, was taken down on April 24 by workers wearing flak jackets and scarves to hide their identities under the cover of night. The city council will vote on whether or not to remove the monuments.

The city is planning to take the statue down and replace it, along with three other Confederate statues that Mayor Mitch Landrieu has condemned as symbols of white supremacy and racism.

Removal was delayed by a long legal battle in federal court.

Today, a judge denied a temporary restraining order to stop the removal but there will still be a hearing on Wednesday. Workers who removed the first statue in April had to wear flak jackets and other items that hid their identities, the New York Times reported.

On the other side: Supporters of the monuments who argue they honor Southern heritage and history.

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