USA

New Orleans' Confederate monuments removed

New Orleans' Confederate monuments removed

New Orleans city workers were finally able to pry the statue of Robert E. Lee from its pedestal in Lee Circle at 6:03 p.m. Friday, marking an end to Mayor Mitch Landrieu's pursuit to remove four of the city's historical monuts with Confederate ties.

Monument supporters and opponents gathered anticipating the statue's removal, but the mayor's office announced the removal would happen during the day Friday, starting at 9 a.m.

Lee's statue has been in place for more than 100 years.

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 after decades standing sentinel over this Southern city, the Confederate monuments are gone, amid a controversy that at times hearkened back to the divisiveness of the Civil War they commemorated.

"So now is a time to come together to heal and to focus on a larger task", he added, "making this city a handsome manifestation of what is possible and what we as a people can become".

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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.

Since May 11, crews in New Orleans have removed monuments to Jefferson Davis, president of the pro-slavery Confederacy and P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general.

The statue of Lee, who commanded Confederate armies fighting the United States in the Civil War, will be taken down from atop a 60-foot (18 meters)-high pedestal where it was been since 1884. Landrieu said the change was out of safety concerns because the statue was close to electrical wires and New Orleans' famous streetcar lines.

The Robert E. Lee statue was a familiar landmark for tourists and commuters who travel busy St. Charles Avenue by vehicle or on one of the city's historic streetcars. Those submitting proposals to take statues must explain how they will "place the statues in context both in terms of why they were first erected and why the city chose to remove them in 2015", the city said.

The area that formerly housed the Jefferson Davis statue will soon feature an American flag, the city announced Thursday night.

Al Kennedy, also white and a former New Orleans school board member, supported removal. Earlier removals happened after nightfall, a precautionary measure due to security concerns for contractors and workers involved in the effort.

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Landrieu said the monuments should be more appropriately displayed in a manner reflecting a dark time in USA history. The statue, which stood for 106 years, had been atop a roughly 12-foot column and depicted Davis with his right arm outstretched with palm turned upward.

But others criticized the move.

Schneider said he lack of public comment - and lack of a public vote outside of City Council - made the whole endeavor "wrong".

The city said in its news release that it has received offers from public and private institutions to take individual monuments, so it will solicit proposals on where they will go through an "open and transparent selection".

The statues will be put into storage while the city looks for a suitable place to display them, the mayor has said.

PGT Beauregard is left out for now while the City and City Park Improvement Association work out ownership issues.

Trump will convey opposition to 'settlements' during Israel trip
The Wall stands in the Old City in the east of Jerusalem , which Israel captured during the 1967 Middle East war. He has set aside 15 minutes for the visit, unlike previous presidents who spent an hour or more at the site.

The city wants to finish the work during its tricentennial year.


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