NEW ORLEANS — Now that New Orleans has removed three prominent Confederate statues and a monument heralding white supremacy, what should it do with them?
The city will receive proposals from groups that want to take three of the monuments — the last is tied up in legal issues — and display them. Plans are also being made to fill the spaces they leave behind. The city wants to finish the work during its tricentennial year in 2018.
Across the world, cities have wrestled with what statues should be allowed to stand watch over parks and buildings. Here’s a look at what other places have done:
Monuments to colonial rule have been removed in many countries, though some remain. There is debate over whether to erase symbols of an era of white domination or preserve them as cautionary reminders of the past.
Statues of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, who died in 1902, were uprooted in Zimbabwean cities after independence from white minority rule in 1980, though his grave remains intact.
In 2015, students defaced a statue of him at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, which removed the monument. Last year, the University of Oxford in Britain, which allocates scholarships named after Rhodes, said it would not take down a statue of its benefactor despite protests by some students.
In Lithuania, the war in Ukraine prompted calls for the removal of all symbols of Soviet occupation, including statues of Red Army soldiers on a bridge in the capital Vilnius; they were removed in 2015.
Meanwhile, statues of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and other Soviet leaders ended up at Grutas Park, a quirky theme park popularly known as Stalin’s World dotted with relics of the country’s communist past.
In Estonia, a monument honoring Red Army WW2 soldiers became a source of riots in 2007 and a diplomatic standoff with Russia when the government debated dismantling or relocating it away from a prominent position in the capital Tallinn.
After World War II, the Allies occupied Germany and introduced a program of “Denazification” to purge society of remnants of Nazi ideology and power. It focused on people deeply involved with the Nazi regime, but also Nazi symbols like the swastika.
Flags were torn down, statues of Hitler destroyed and Nazi-era place names changed. Thus Berlin’s “Adolf Hitler Platz” reverted to “Reichskanzlerplatz,” or “German Chancellor Square,” after the war; today it’s “Theodor Heuss Platz,” after Germany’s first postwar president. U.S. military engineers blew up a massive swastika that towered over the Nazi parade grounds in Nuremberg.
The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad in 2003 was one of the most famous moments of the U.S.-led invasion, but thousands of other Saddam-era statues and monuments were removed or modified as well including many removed by U.S. forces where they stationed.
In 2007, a government committee was tasked with reviewing what was left to remove them, starting with the crossed-sword archways Saddam commissioned to commemorate his victory over Iran. But the work was quickly halted after denunciations from artists and Sunni politicians. The government only removed hundreds of Iranian soldiers’ helmets.
Another monument built by Saddam to commemorate Iraqis killed in the Iran-Iraq War was turned into a museum honoring the overwhelmingly Shiite and Kurdish victims of Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime.
Hundreds of Soviet-era monuments were taken down in Moscow and St. Petersburg as the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991.
The removal of one, a statue to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret service, in front of jubilant crowds on Aug. 21, 1991, was perceived as a symbolic break with Russia’s totalitarian past.
The Dzerzhinsky monument and other Soviet landmark statues were taken to Muzeon, a park in central Moscow, while authorities were largely undecided about what to do with the busts and statues of Lenin, Dzerzhinsky and other Communist Party functionaries.
The Dzerzhinsky statue still stands in an alley at Muzeon while busts and smaller monuments are piled in a heap contained by a link fence.