New Orleans Prepares To Take Down Statue Of Gen. Robert E. Lee

New Orleans Prepares To Take Down Statue Of Gen. Robert E. Lee

On Friday, the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee became the last of New Orleans's four contested monuments to go, an end to more than 130 years of publicly honoring a man who embodied Southern pride and racial oppression.

Statues and flags honoring the Confederacy have been removed from public spaces across the United States since 2015, after a white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners at a SC church.

Lee Monument, located in Lee Circle in New Orleans, is one of three remaining confederate statues slated to be removed in New Orleans Louisiana, U.S., April 24, 2017.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is expected to give a speech marking the removal of the last of the four monuments on Friday afternoon.

But Frank Varela Jr., a New Orleans native carrying an American flag, said he thought Lee should stay up as "a part of the South".The city said those taking the statues cannot display them outdoors on public property in New Orleans.Seriously, Mitch?

Mayor Mitch Landrieu began pushing for the monuments' removal in 2015 after Dylann Roof massacred nine black Charleston churchgoers. Statues to the Confederacy's only president Jefferson Davis and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard followed in quick succession until only Lee was left. And political analysts say it's hard to tell where the term-limited Democrat will land next in a deeply conservative state. Most of a crowd of about 200 people cheered just after 6 p.m. (2300 GMT) as the bronze figure of Lee with crossed arms was pulled from atop a 60-foot marble column in the center of a busy traffic circle. The obelisk marked a deadly fight between the Crescent City White League, a group opposed to the city's racially integrated police force, and state militia after the Civil War.

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The statue of Lee, who commanded Confederate armies against the Union in the Civil War, was the most prominent of the four statues, his bronze figure standing nearly 20 feet (6 meters) tall in uniform, arms crossed defiantly, gazing northward. I agree that the first monument (Liberty ) should have been removed as it clearly represented racism. Earlier this month, dozens of supporters of the monuments clashed with hundreds of demonstrators near the site of the Lee statue.

Unlike the earlier statues, city officials were taking Lee's statue down in daylight.

And where the monuments once stood, public art and an American flag are among the pieces that will replace them.

Backlash against removing New Orleans' Confederate monuments has been building.

The city announced an outline of its plans late Thursday. "With the removal of four of our century-plus aged landmarks, at 299 years old, New Orleans now heads in to our Tricentennial more divided and less historic".

Efforts to remove Confederate statues are underway in other parts of the South, including in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a Robert E. Lee statue is scheduled to be removed. The event was criticized for evoking images of the Ku Klux Klan, and a counter-protest was held on Sunday night.

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