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Barricades up, police prep for PGT Beauregard monument to come down

NEW ORLEANS -- NOPD officers have put barricades in place in City Park near the PGT Beauregard monument, fueling speculation that the statue is coming down as soon as tonight.

It's the third of four Confederate monuments that are slated to come down, despite the Louisiana House of Representatives advancing legislation that would require a local vote before war monuments can be removed.

The bill will now go before the state Senate, and if passed, will advance to the governor's desk for final approval.

The Monumental Task Committee, the group that's fighting to keep the monuments in place, held a press conference in front of the PGT Beauregard statue at City Park Tuesday afternoon, pleading with the city to let the legislation run its course in the Legislature or at least wait 30 days before removing any more monuments.

The Monumental Task Committee still claims that the Beauregard statue and the property on which it sits belongs to City Park, not the city. That's despite a judge's recent ruling that the city is the rightful owner and can proceed with the monument's removal.

City Park chimed in the Beauregard ownership dispute late Tuesday, noting that the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association, which owns and operates City Park, "is not aware of any definitive evidence that the (association) owns the (monument)."

"Mayor Landrieu has clearly indicated that the removal of the monument is imminent, and we hope it will be done safely and that all parties, while exercising their first amendment rights, respect the laws of our city and state," officials from City Park said in a prepared statement.

The removal of the monuments has sparked much controversy, with heated protests and clashes between groups that want the monuments gone and others who want the monuments to remain in place.

The first two monuments that were removed -- Liberty Place and Jefferson Davis -- were done overnight with heavy police presence and masked workers taking the statues down.

It's unclear exactly when Beauregard and the Robert E. Lee monument at Lee Circle will be removed. The city has declined to give details, citing security concerns.