Earlier this week, my colleague Brentin Mock spoke with photojournalist Abdul Aziz, who has been capturing the tense atmosphere around New Orleans’s Confederate monuments, which the city has been ordered to remove. The debate has mobilized local activist networks like Take ‘Em Down NOLA, but it’s also brought a number of outsiders into the city—from Confederate defenders who have camped near monuments for a week to self-proclaimed anti-fascist protesters.
These protests have intensified, and CityLab caught up with Aziz to get an update on what it looks like on the ground. ”At one point, the [defenders] armed themselves and stood on the monuments,” he tells CityLab, while counter protestors “were heavily taunting them.”According to Aziz, the police intervened after an hour or so, when they stepped in to encourage everyone to retreat. Aziz’s photographs reveal the extreme clash between the protesters, as escalating tensions have prompted many to enter the fray armed.
Due to the protests, police have barricaded the Jefferson Davis monument, making it inaccessible. The monuments are slated to be dismantled over the next month, but the city will not remove any more of them until after JazzFest, which concludes on Sunday.