New Orleans removes monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee

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"These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for", he said.

Landrieu says his legacy amounts to much more.

Crews in New Orleans on Friday used a crane to lift a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee off its pedestal as the city removed the last of four monuments its leaders see as racially offensive.

Unlike the earlier statues, city officials were taking Lee's statue down in daylight.

The column on which the statue stood will remain, and the city will add a water feature.

The Robert E. Lee statue was a familiar landmark for tourists and commuters who travel busy St. Charles Avenue by vehicle or on one of the city's historic streetcars.

The city started removing the public landmarks in late April, after the New Orleans City Council voted in 2015 to remove the four Confederate markers.

Landrieu called for the monuments' removal in the lingering emotional aftermath of the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a SC church.

A small crowd - including some supporting the removal and those opposing it - gathered outside the barricaded area throughout the morning. Also on Friday, in Alabama, the legislature sent a bill to the desk of Governor Kay Ivey that would prohibit the removal of monuments on public property that have been in place for at least 20 years.

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Lee's statue had been a fixture there since 1884.

The city's famed Uptown streetcar line wraps around the circle, and almost all Carnival parades traverse it near the end of their route. "We can not be afraid of the truth", said Landrieu, who along with other city leaders chose to take down the monuments in 2015, a decision that withstood challenges in federal court. Since the beginning of the process, city officials, activists, contractors and work crews have been threatened and harassed.

Last month, a monument was taken down that commemorated an 1874 attack on the racially integrated city police and state militia by a white supremacist group called the "Crescent City White League".

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu took photographs of the Jefferson Davis statue being removed from its pedestal overnight. "With the removal of four of our century-plus aged landmarks, at 299 years old, New Orleans now heads in to our Tricentennial more divided and less historic".

For Mayor Mitch Landrieu to compare these statues to the same as "burning a cross on someone's yard" is ludicrous.

The statues will be put into storage while the city looks for a suitable place to display them, the mayor has said.

Landrieu plans to address city residents later in the afternoon.

The monuments that pay homage to the Confederacy, made up of states which attempted to preserve slavery in the South and secede from the United States in the Civil War of 1861 to 1865, have been denounced by critics as an affront to the ideals of multi-racial tolerance and diversity in the majority-black Louisiana city.

Backlash against removing New Orleans' Confederate monuments has been building.

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