With snipers standing by, and during a time where southern states were celebrating a rebel-like heritage, New Orleans snuck in the darkness and dismantled monuments that referred to their Confederate heritage, reports The Washington Post.
Police snipers protected workers, and the city’s Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, stated that the city no longer allows the Confederacy to be on a pedestal. Furthermore, he says that the “white supremacy” style associated with it is not tolerated in their city.
Workers Take Down 35-foot Obelisk
One of the more astonishing removals was a granite obelisk measuring 35 feet tall and placed in Liberty Place. This honored the whites that defeated racially integrated government installations after the Civil War.
The city further plans to remove the other three statutes of the Confederate army’s military over the next few days — naturally, they did not publish the dates.
New Orleans has one of the higher population of Confederate monuments. These monuments have sparked outrage, especially after the mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, says ABC News.
After the massacre, Republicans and Democrats in the south requested that the Confederate battle flags be removed from the state and that South Carolina no longer represent symbols of a worse time in American history.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which focuses on fighting the bigotry and discrimination, reports there are 1503 symbols of Confederacy in the South still standing.
The city received numerous death threats. So, their contractors work flak jackets and helmets while removing the Battle of Liberty Place monument. It was in place for years but represented the police force in 1874 and respected members of the supremacist paramilitary group.
Numerous groups are against the removal of the statue, feeling it takes away from the city’s history. However, more are for removing the statues that lead to violence and protests.
The city has federal court approval to remove these monuments; therefore, they are not breaking any laws. They claim that they will relocate them, but their new locations have not been publicized yet.
No announcement was made about the removal in the middle of the night, but it was done before sunrise.
A small group of protestors attended the removal, but they left at 1:30 am. Police officers barricaded the streets and snipers positioned themselves on rooftops surrounding the statue. By 3:00 am, the job was completed and workers endured many screams and profanities from the crowds.
By morning, the Monumental Task Committee, a private New Orleans group, condemned the statue’s removal operation. They stated that the removal under darkness and without public bid or forum, along with masked contractors, was the sign of an atrocious government.
However, many disagree. The Mayor of New Orleans considers the monument offensive to the city, and the three other memorials scheduled for removal represent Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and PGT Beauregard.