Home / National News / Protesters clash over fate of Confederate monuments in New Orleans

 

(NEW ORLEANS) — Multiple people were arrested on Sunday as hundreds of protesters clashed over the fate of Confederate monuments in New Orleans, police said.

Three protesters were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace on Sunday afternoon near Lee Circle in New Orleans after a fight broke out at a Confederate monuments demonstration, according to the New Orleans Police Department.

A second scuffle later in the day was immediately broken up by police, with no arrests made, authorities said.

More than 700 people attended demonstrations on Sunday on both sides of the city’s plans to remove three remaining Confederate monuments.

The city has not released a timeline for the removal plans, citing safety concerns. However, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederacy President Jefferson Davis could come down “anytime, sooner rather than later.”

The city began the process of taking down Confederate statutes late last month, starting with the removal of the monument to the Battle at Liberty Place, which the mayor said was put up to celebrate the murder of police officers by white supremacists.

One of the anti-monument groups, Take ‘Em Down NOLA, who attended the protests, said it believed the statues were symbols of racism and white supremacy.

The group said it was working to ”remove all symbols to white supremacy from the landscape of New Orleans with as a necessary part of the struggle toward racial and economic justice,” according to a statement posted on its Facebook page on Monday.

“Just as we outnumbered those who came to oppose the removal of these racists symbols, we always outnumbered them, and in reality we always outnumber them,” the statement said.

Counter-protesters, many of whom carried Confederate flags, also attended the demonstrations.

Businessman Frank Stewart, who is a member of the preservationist group Monument Task Committee, took out a two-page ad last week in the New Orleans Advocate — one of Louisiana’s largest newspapers by circulation — to express his opposition to Mayor Landrieu’s plans to remove the remaining monuments.

In the ad, Stewart said he believes “the three remaining magnificent works of art should remain in their current location,” especially when considering their listings on the National Historic Register.

The three remaining statues have stood for more than a century years and have not been an issue until recently, Stewart added.

“Mitch, I personally accuse you of having self-serving and very selfish political ambitions to make a public issue out of a matter that our last four African-American mayors never addressed,” Stewart said.

The Monument Task Committee, a preservation organization, has argued that the removal process was occurring before legislation has a chance to be heard and urged citizens to call the state’s attorney general Jeff Landry to “ask him to file suit to save the monuments,” according to its website.

The committee is scheduled to hold a press conference Monday morning at the Beauregard monument in City Park in New Orleans, where it said it would make an announcement regarding monument removal.

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