04:30 GMT +318 August 2019
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    New Orleans Begins Taking Down Confederate Statues As Death Threats Target Workers

    Controversial New Orleans Statue Removed as Death Threats Target Workers

    © AP Photo/ Gerald Herbert
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    Workers in New Orleans donned helmets, masks and bulletproof vests on Monday, as they removed the first of four Confederate monuments from the city.

    The statue was erected in 1891 to honor the failed rebellion of the Crescent City White League militia, which sought to topple the biracial government after the Civil War.

    "If there was ever a statue that needed to be taken down, it's that one," Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told The Hill.

    The obelisk was removed in the early morning hours, around 1:25 am, without fanfare or warning due to safety concerns for the workers, who had reportedly received death threats. The removal was overseen by the New Orleans Police Department SWAT team, which had sharp shooters positioned on the roof of a nearby parking garage. K9 units were also present to check the scene.

    "All of what we will do in the next days will be designed to make sure that we protect everybody, that the workers are safe, the folks around the monuments are safe and that nobody gets hurt," Landrieu said.

    Logos on the construction team’s trucks were also covered and their license plates removed.

    “At one point, city officials called to criticize a TV station for taking video that they said was zoomed in too close and could reveal the workers’ identities,” the Olean Times Herald reported.

    The mayor announced on Monday that the statues dedicated to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and PGT Beauregard, as well as another commemorating Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, will be removed using the same method in the coming days.

    Landrieu began his quest to remove the offending statutes two years ago, but faced legal hurdles and challenges by opponents. Those who wanted the monuments to stay cited historical relevance and context.

    The Liberty Place Monument has been one of several throughout the city that has been vandalized multiple times over the past few years. Two days after the 2016 election, another in Lee Circle was spray painted with anti-Donald Trump slogans and the words “die whites, die.”

    The dismantled statue will now be preserved in a warehouse until a museum or park can be found “where it can be placed in its proper context,” the Olean Times Herald reports.


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