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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Scuffles, tense moments at Jefferson Davis statue in Mid-City overnight

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 2:30 AM

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The "monument defenders" who have been camped out at the Jefferson Davis statue on Canal Street in Mid-City were met by dozens of counterprotesters late Monday night, who staged a theatrical arrival, Les Miserables-style, on the back of a truck waving RESIST flags. On the side of the truck was a sign reading "FUCK OFF NAZI SCUM."

The counterprotesters arrived with grilling equipment and a music system, ready to throw an impromptu barbecue and karaoke dance party on Jefferson Davis Parkway, but were deterred by about 30 New Orleans Police Department officers who put the kibosh on the barbecue. As the monument defenders gaped, the counterprotesters managed to perform one song, "Head Like a Hole" by Nine Inch Nails ("Head like a hole/Black as your soul/I'd rather die/Than give you control") before the spectacle turned tense, with open-carry monument defenders facing off against the counterprotesters, who shouted their local bona fides as they climbed the Jefferson Davis statue.

Bottles and eggs were thrown, mace or pepper spray was used on at least one counterprotester, and New Orleans police took several people into custody (including one legal observer, which inflamed the crowd). Eventually NOPD escorted the Confederate defenders away from the monument to the jeers of counterprotesters, Two men, cleared away from the statue, solemnly folded an American flag before leaving.

With the Confederate defenders gone, NOPD cleared the area around the statue, sending about 200 onlookers across Canal Street or across Jefferson Davis Parkway to the Holy Ground bar. About 11 p.m., more NOPD reinforcements arrived with barricades in the back of their trucks, to the cheers of the crowd that assumed the action meant the statue was coming down momentarily — a belief reinforced by the closing of nearby intersections on Jefferson Davis Parkway.

But it was not to be. NOPD Deputy Superintendent Paul Noel assured press and onlookers that the statue removal was not imminent, though he gave no timetable for it. With double lines of barricades around the statue and heavy NOPD presence guarding it, and with the pro-monument defenders dispersed, much of the crowd disipated shortly after midnight,


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