Seven arrested during Jackson Square protests

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Seven people were arrested during a protest in the French Quarter, six for disturbing the peace and one for aggravated assault, as at least four different groups of protesters converged onto Jackson Square.

The protest comes after the city agreed to remove four confederate-era monuments: the Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis statues, and the Liberty monument.

Protesters with "Take 'Em Down NOLA" made claims earlier in the week that they would work to remove the statue of Andrew Jackson in Jackson Square Saturday afternoon.

When the group arrived at the French Quarter landmark they found New Orleans Police, counter-protesters, and barricades around the monument.

"Eradicate it all, once you start you got to finish the job," Ameer Baraka, a protester, said.

Some counter-protesters were upset the group wanted to remove the Jackson statue.

"This is history, it's not hatred, it's where this country came from, maybe it wasn't all right and maybe it was ugly, maybe it wasn't really sweet, but from that, where are we at today," Greg Padgett, a monument supporter said.

The NOPD estimated at least four different groups showed up to the protest, including former KKK leader David Duke, who was met by unwelcoming crowds.

The protest was called peaceful, but it wasn't without scuffles.

"Things get heated in a protest or demonstration when people on opposite sides of the issue are in the same place at the same time, we gave them that space, it did not get violent. As soon as we saw an ordinance violated we were able to make those extractions, get those people out safely," NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said.

As the protest wound down, the "Take 'Em Down NOLA" group marched back to Congo Square and said even though the city is working to remove the some of the statues, they don't think it's enough.

"Its a good step when you actually do something. Talking about, it's been talked about for decades, but action is what we require at this point," Quess, a protester, said.

The group wants more than just the removal of statues, they also demanded the city fork over $5 million dollars a year to fund their community programs.

Some people at the protest think the protesters are misguided and hoped they could shift their focus to electing representative officials.

"Because that's where it counts, we need to register, we need to vote and we need to put in people that are going to enact the laws and the rules that we want to see enacted and until we do that, symbolic things like putting a rope around Jackson's neck is not going to get us very far," Deborah Ewers, a resident, said.

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