New Orleans Removes Last Confederate Monument among Increased Security
The city of New Orleans will take down a prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The last, and perhaps most iconic of the city’s four Confederate-era monuments is coming down in New Orleans on Friday, among an increased presence from law enforcement on Friday, May 19.
The city of New Orleans has been spontaneously removing Confederate-era statues since April after Mayor Mitch Landrieu proposed the monuments be removed after the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church. The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished the Confederate battle flag in photos.
This event reignited the debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.
The first three monuments, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson David, Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and a monument memorializing a deadly 1874 white-supremacist uprising were all removed in the pre-dawn hours on days that were not previously disclosed to the public.
The removal of the fourth and final monument of Robert E. Lee will be different as it will be taken down in the morning hours amid increased presence of law enforcement.
"Citizens have a right to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful protest," city officials said in the release. "We understand there are strong emotions surrounding this subject, and we ask that the public remain peaceful and respectful while demonstrating."
The city plans to have extra security around the Lee statue on Friday morning and will block off a one-block radius around Lee Circle to cars before and during the removal in anticipation of protests.