In one of the largest protests the city has seen in years, several hundred people poured into Jackson Square on Saturday afternoon to protest the city’s failure to remove four Confederate monuments.Despite the public posturing, the objective here was never actually to topple the Jackson statue. The important thing was to show solidarity with the City Council's long overdue order to remove the Jim Crow era Confederate monuments. Those topplings have been delayed for nearly a year now thanks to the intransigence and legal resources available to the stubborn defenders of outdated white supremacist propaganda. They think they're going to be able to stall until popular momentum fades. The numbers turned out for yesterday's protest prove that isn't about to happen.
The protesters were met by dozens of cops behind barricades and on horseback. The area around the square’s central equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson was barricaded because protesters had announced plans to toss ropes over it and try to pull it down.
The New Orleans Police Department reported that a total of seven people were arrested, including WBOK Radio personality Chuck Perkins, who some observers said pushed back at a counter-protester who lunged at him.
On Friday, the potential of conflict at the protest was heightened when former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, a candidate in this fall's U.S. Senate race, asked his radio listeners to organize a counter demonstration to block the Take 'Em Down NOLA march.
Duke did show up at Jackson Square and tried briefly to speak to the crowd Saturday. After some protesters grabbed his microphone and others chanted over his remarks, Duke left, well before the arrival of the main group of protesters, who had marched from Congo Square a few blocks away.
But after about an hour, everyone left peacefully.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
The Jackson statue toppling party turned out to be more of a party than a toppling.