NEW ORLEANS - Workers in New Orleans have finished taking down the first of four Confederate statues in the city that will be removed over the coming days.
The Liberty Place monument was driven away in pieces around 5:35 a.m. Monday. Only a concrete base remained.
The Liberty Place monument is an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League, which attempted to overthrow a biracial Reconstruction government in New Orleans after the Civil War.
Workers who took down the monument could be seen wearing bullet-proof vests, military-style helmets and scares that obscured their faces. That's because city officials have said supporters who want the monuments to stay have made death threats.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the city won't be deterred in its plans to remove three more Confederate monuments, but won't say when that will happen to protect the workers since there have been threats.
At a Monday morning news conference, Landrieu said the monument taken down in the pre-dawn darkness Monday had been erected to honor the killing of police officers by white supremacists.
The mayor said "we will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city."
The other statues, of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, will come down in following days.
A group opposing the removal of Confederate monuments says the process has been flawed from the start and that it lacks transparency.
The Monumental Task Committee in a news release called the removal of a statue in the pre-dawn darkness Monday by workers wearing scarves to cover their faces "atrocious government."
City officials said the Liberty Place monument was dismantled at night to avoid disruption from those who want the statues to stay.
The monument, which commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, was hauled away in pieces around 5:35 a.m. Monday.
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