Workers in New Orleans began removing the first of four prominent Confederate monuments early Monday, making it the latest Southern city to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as representing racism and white supremacy. Trucks arrived to begin removing the first memorial, one that commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, around 1:25am in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, the AP reports. City officials say some monument supporters have made death threats. Workers who were inspecting the statue ahead of its removal could be seen wearing flak jackets and helmets.
The first memorial to come down was the Liberty Place monument, an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League. Three other statues, to Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and PGT Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, will be removed in later days now that legal challenges have been overcome. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu tells the AP the memorials are an "aberration" that don't represent his city as it approaches its 300th anniversary next year. The mayor says the city will remove, preserve, and store the monuments until an "appropriate" place to display them is determined.