Clashes in New Orleans as statue of white supremacist leader Jefferson Davis removed

Work crews guarded by police as they remove statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in New Orleans

The statue and three others like it had been selected for removal in 2015

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Clashes have been reported in the US city of New Orleans as a statue of 19th century pro-slavery politician Jefferson Davis was removed.

Work crews in Louisiana removed the tatue of Davis today [May 11], surrounded by a heavy police presence. 

Davis was president of the southern Confederacy, which defended slavery in the states south of Washington, during the Civil War and his statue has become a landmark for white supremacists. A number of pro-monument supporters hosted a vigil beside the statue before its removal, brandishing Confederate flags.

Protesters both for and against the statue gathered as it was dismantled, exchanging a string of insults which prompted police to erect barriers.

The statue of Jefferson Davis is the second monument to be removed and relocated since New Orleans City Council voted to remove a total of four statues in 2015, as part of its attempts to expunge the memory of slavery and New Orleans' role in perpetuating it during the 19th century.

The legacy of slavery continues to provoke bitter arguments across the south. In March the state of Arkansas, which like Louisiana was part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, finally separated the holidays celebrating Robert E Lee, who commanded the Southern forces in the conflict, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King. However monuments to the fallen remain intact across the southern states.