People against the removal of confederate era statues demonstrate across the street from the Jefferson Davis statue, in anticipation of its imminent removal in New Orleans, Thursday, May 11, 2017.

A statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis was removed early Thursday morning in front of a large police presence, aiming to control a crowd of both monument supporters and critics.

"We would have preferred it to be in the daytime", monument opponent Malcolm Suber told Kaplan-Levenson, "so everybody could see it in the light of day".

Because of threats and security risks, the city will not publicly disclose details for the next three removals. Those who don't want it removed are arguing that it belongs to a park board, and therefore the city has no authority to remove it. The demonstrators were separated by metal barriers set up by the police and heckled each other from opposite sides of the barricade. They chanted, "Take 'em down" and "White supremacy's got to go".

Legal fights over the statues have slowed the removal of the monuments, but a federal appeals court said the city could remove them back in March.

The City removed the first of the four monuments, The Battle of Liberty Place, on April 24, 2017. Still slated for removal, at a time to be determined, are the statue of Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle and the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance to City Park. A slave owner himself, memorials and monuments celebrating him in several states - including Texas, Virginia, Washington, and of course Louisiana - have come under fire in recent years.

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Lee and Beauregard were generals in the Confederate Army.

The staff at the Morris Jeff Community School, located near the Jefferson Davis monument, sent out a recorded message late Wednesday to parents, saying that the New Orleans Police Department had confirmed that the statue would be removed overnight. I believe more strongly today than ever that in New Orleans, we should truly remember all of our history, not some of it.

"To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in some of our most prominent public places is not only an inaccurate reflection of our past, it is an affront to our present, and a bad prescription for our future", Landrieu said in Thursday's statement. "We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past".

"It's entertaining", Patterson, 74, said of the hubbub surrounding the Wednesday morning removal of the statue from the busy New Orleans street that still bears the name Jefferson Davis Parkway. He hopes Landrieu makes good on a pledge to ensure that the monuments wind up in a museum or some other place where they can be viewed in a historical context.

Critics of the monuments say they foster racism by celebrating leaders of the pro-slavery South during the US Civil War.