The city of New Orleans began taking down the monument commemorating the Battle of Liberty Place in the wee hours of Monday morning.
The Associated Press reported tonight
that Mayor Mitch Landrieu has begun the controversial removal of the city's Confererate-era monuments in the middle of the night:
New Orleans planned to begin removing the first of four prominent Confederate monuments early Monday, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation racism and white supremacy.
Workers were to begin removing the first memorial, one that commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, overnight in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, some of whom city officials said have made death threats.
Three other statues to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis will be removed in later days now that legal challenges have been overcome.
"There's a better way to use the property these monuments are on and a way that better reflects who we are," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press.
A group of monument supporters and counterprotesters, led by the pro-monument Monumental Task Committee
, began a vigll at the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis at midnight. However, the toppling began at the site of the Liberty Monument (behind the Shops at Canal Place), which Landrieu called "the most offensive of the four" and said it was erected to "revere white supremacy."
Last month, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled the Liberty Place monument could be removed
. Since then, Louisiana state lawmakers have prefiled bills seeking to preserve the monuments, and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser has asked President Donald Trump to intervene
The Advocate reported
that a flatbed truck — with license plates removed and the name of the company taped over — arrived around 2 a.m. at the Liberty Place monument.
More on the background of the monument controversy: