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Final Confederate Statue Taken Down In New Orleans

The last remaining Confederate landmark in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, has been taken down.

On May 19, a crowd gathered as the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was removed from atop a monument in New Orleans at Lee Circle, CNN reports. It had been on display for 133 years.

"Na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye!" some people in the crowd cheered as the statue was placed on a flatbed trailer to be taken away to storage.

The removal of Confederate markers in the city began in April, as decided by a New Orleans City Council vote in 2015. The first to be removed was the Battle of Liberty Place monument on April 24; the second, a statue of Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard; and the third, Jefferson Davis' statue.

The removal of the Lee statue marks the fourth and final Confederate landmark to be taken down in New Orleans. It was the only statue to be removed during daylight. The others were taken down at night or in the early morning with little notice given.

"Because it's the last of these statues, it needs to come down. It's a symbol of racism that's unacceptable for 2017," monument opponent Storm Wyche told WVUE.

A fight broke out between onlookers when someone took an American flag from a supporter and hid it in a vehicle. Protesters surrounded the vehicle and a few men exchanged heated words. The New Orleans police recovered the flag and returned it to the supporter.

No other problems surfaced during the statue's removal.

One protester admitted that there is nothing left to do to stop the city from taking down the Confederate markers.

“We can find a way to unify the city in another way,” the protestor said.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu explained why the city was removing the Lee statue and other monuments.

"[They] celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for. And after the Civil War, these monuments were part of that terrorism as much as burning a cross on someone's lawn," he said, according to CNN.

Landrieu said that the monuments are not a true reflection of the city, which has a 60 percent African-American population.

"To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our more prominent places -- in honor -- is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, is an affront to our present and it is a bad prescription for our future," he said.

The statues will be placed in storage until the city decides on a place to display them, Landrieu previously said.

The area where the Jefferson Davis statue used to stand will be replaced with an American flag. Lee's former location will have a water feature installed.

Sources: CNNWVUE / Photo credit: Paul Simpson/Flickr

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