The city of New Orleans is tearing down another Confederate statue on Friday, after months of controversy and threats against the workers contracted to remove them.
Friday’s removal saw the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, erected in 1884, taken down from the city’s Lee Circle. Demonstrators both in favor of and against the removal gathered at the circle Thursday night and Friday in the lead-up.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke at the site before the statue was removed, saying the Confederate monuments are not neutral remembrances of history but were erected “to re-write history, to hide the truth. Which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.”
The removal of the Robert E. Lee statue follows three other Confederate monuments: ones commemorating Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, and another that marked an 1874 white supremacist uprising. All three of those monuments were brought down overnight to avoid retaliation against workers, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The city council voted in 2015 to remove all four statues partly as a reaction to the massacre of nine black people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church by white supremacist terrorist Dylann Roof, who venerated Confederate symbols and history.
The Associated Press obtained a statement from the city that said the monuments were “erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the ‘Cult of the Lost Cause,’ a movement recognized across the South as celebrating and promoting white supremacy.”
The other three statues were spotted earlier this week sitting in a maintenance yard, next to a pile of trash.