New Orleans dismantles Confederate statue

Authorities remove controversial Jefferson Davis monument amid protests

The  Jefferson Davis monument is removed in  New Orleans, Louisiana, US. Photograph: Dinah Rogers/EPA

The Jefferson Davis monument is removed in New Orleans, Louisiana, US. Photograph: Dinah Rogers/EPA

 

New Orleans authorities dismantled a statue honouring former president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis amid cries by protesters waving Confederate flags and cheers from a group that said the monument glorified racism in the south of the US.

Police watched the two groups taunt each other early on Thursday, as crews used a crane to pluck the 2.4m bronze statue from the granite pedestal where it had sat for more than a century, on a piece of land near an intersection in the Mid-City neighbourhood.

“I am here to witness this debacle, taking down this 106-year-old beautiful monument,” said Pierre McGraw, president of the Monumental Task Committee, which restored the statue as one of its first projects 29 years ago.

“It hurts a lot,” he said.

Quess Moore said he came out “to celebrate the victory in the battle against white supremacy, particularly in New Orleans”.

Confederacy statues and flags have been removed from public spaces across the US since 2015, after a white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church.

Critics of the monuments say they foster racism by celebrating leaders of the pro-slavery South during the US Civil War.

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu posted photos on Twitter of the removal of the Jefferson Davis monument.

“This historic moment is an opportunity to join together as one city and redefine our future,” Mr Landrieu tweeted.

McGraw’s committee rejected that view, saying in a statement that the mayor “cannot be inclusive, tolerant, or diverse when he is erasing a very specific and undeniable part of New Orleans history”.

A committee member also sued on Monday to stop the city from removing a statue of PGT Beauregard, a general in the Confederate army.

Vandalised

The Davis monument had been frequently vandalised.

The statue will be stored in a city warehouse until a permanent location can be determined, officials said.

The Davis and Beauregard monuments are among four in New Orleans that critics have been pushing to have dismantled.

In 2015, the city decided to take the monuments down, and a US appeals court ruled in March that it had the right to proceed.

The first of the monuments was removed last month.

On Sunday, dozens of supporters of the monuments clashed with hundreds of demonstrators near the site of a statue honouring Confederate Gen Robert E Lee that is also slated for removal.

Reuters