New Orleans votes to remove Confederate monuments

In this Sept. 2, 2015 photo, a statue of P.G.T. Beauregard is seen at the entrance to City Park at Esplanade Ave. in New Orleans. Prominent Confederate monuments long taken for granted on the streets of this Deep South city may be on the verge of coming down and become new examples of a mood taking hold nationwide to erase racially charged symbolism from public view. Beginning the week of Dec. 7, 2015, the City Council will take up the issue of removing four monuments linked to Confederate history. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -The New Orleans City Council has voted in favor of removing prominent Confederate monuments along some of its busiest streets – a sweeping move by a city seeking to break with its Confederate past.

The council’s 6-1 vote on Thursday afternoon allows the city to remove four monuments, including a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has stood at the center of a traffic circle for 131 years.

The decision to take down the monuments came after months of impassioned debate. Now, the city faces possible lawsuits seeking to keep the monuments where they are.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu first proposed taking down these monuments after police said a white supremacist killed nine parishioners inside the African-American Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June.

Anti-Confederate sentiment has grown since then around the country, along with protests against police mistreatment, as embodied by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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