NEW ORLEANS – A day of tense protests culminated at Lee Circle as people from both sides of the Confederate monuments argument met Sunday afternoon.
The day began at Congo Square as anti-monument group Take Em Down NOLA second lined through the streets of New Orleans.
The group came together in celebration at Armstrong Park as the city plans to remove three remaining Confederate monuments. Take Em Down NOLA said the statues are symbols of white supremacy.
“The fight that we’re waging is against the city fathers of this city who have refused to bring about genuine equality and freedom for the black people here,” said Malcom Suber with Take Em Down NOLA.
Others at the square agreed.
“It’s very important to stop in its track this long legacy of racism that came out of slavery,” said Candace Wolf. “It’s very important to stand up to it because there are people who don’t want it to die.”
The group of hundreds made their way through the French Quarter and Central Business District, finally arriving at Lee Circle. That’s where they came face-to-face with several groups protesting the removal of the monuments.
“It’s a part of a cultural heritage and we want it to stay,” said Michael Hill, president of the League of the South. “We understand that most of us will only be here for a day but it’s a symbolic gesture of standing up for what we believe in.”
Some came dressed in helmets, tactical gear, and holding shields appearing ready for battle, but with a large police presence, they instead fought with words.
“We will not allow leftist militant activist organizations go to these kinds of events and hinder our Constitutional right to free speech and assembly and we will not allow these militant groups to essentially decide what laws they deem allowable,” said Mike Tokes from Los Angeles.
Now, it’s a waiting game to see when the removal of the remaining monuments will take place.
The city has not released a timeline on their removal, citing safety and threats. However, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has previously stated they will come down ‘sooner than later.’