NEW ORLEANS — At the hours of darkness of night time, staff sporting masks and tactical vests arrived Monday at New Orleans’ Battle of Liberty Place monument to take it down.
Police snipers have been positioned on close by rooftops, in line with The Occasions-Picayune newspaper, and the vans and gear used within the operation had firm names coated by cardboard and black tape.
The controversial removing was the primary of 4 scheduled relocations of Accomplice memorials within the metropolis, regardless of weeks of opposition from professional-monument teams and threats towards staff. It got here as some Southern states celebrated Accomplice Memorial Day, though Louisiana shouldn’t be amongst them. State authorities workplaces in these states might be closed in observance of the vacation.
The Battle of Liberty Place monument was erected in 1891 to mark a lethal battle between members of the “Crescent Metropolis White League” — a gaggle against the town’s biracial police pressure and state militia after the Civil Struggle — and officers from that police drive.
A couple of hours earlier than dawn Monday, the obelisk — situated not removed from Canal Road, close to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas — was slowly taken aside as supporters and opponents of the motion gathered close by amid a robust police presence.
The occasion incited cheers and applause from some individuals within the crowd whereas others engaged in heated discussions.
“This must be a celebration however as an alternative that is executed clandestinely. They acquired the employees who’re taking it down wearing black jackets, helmets and their faces are coated, to us that’s cowardice,” one individual there informed CNN affiliate WVUE-TV.
Metropolis officers have tried to take away and relocate the monuments since 2015.
Staff acquired threats
The relocations comply with debate in recent times within the South about what to do with Accomplice symbols, particularly after the killings of 9 black parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church by a self-described white supremacist in 2015.
Counter-efforts to honor Southern heritage and protect symbols of the Confederacy have additionally sprung up.
A authorized battle prevented New Orleans from eradicating the statues till a federal decide in Louisiana affirmed the town’s proper to maneuver them in March.
Police barricades protected the employees, who eliminated the Battle of Liberty Place monument piece by piece. The safety measures have been taken after a number of contractors acquired threats.