Philadelphia officials plan to remove Columbus statue

Philadelphia is planning to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza, an urban park square located in south of the US city, Mayor Jim Kenney’s office announced.

Tensions between people pro and against the statue “have deteriorated to a concerning public safety situation”, Xinhua news agency quoted the office as saying in a statement.

Christopher Columbus became a symbol of Italians’ contributions to American history, but “scholars and historians have uncovered first-hand documentation establishing that his arrival in the Americas also marked the beginning of the displacement and genocide of Indigenous people”, it added.

The largest city in the eastern state of Pennsylvania will ask the Philadelphia Art Commission to approve the removal of the statue on July 22, and will allow public input through written statements until July 21, according to a CNN report.

In many cities across the country, including Boston, Minneapolis and Virginia’s capital city Richmond, statues of Christopher Columbus were being dismounted or defaced amid protests against police brutality and racism and debates over confederate statues and other controversial monuments.

This development comes after protesters earlier this week attempted to topple a statue of the seventh US President Andrew Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act in May 1830, which led to the relocation of thousands of Native Americans and the deaths of thousands more when he was in office,in a park near the White House.

But their attempt was foiled by the police.

On June 19, protesters in Washington, D.C., and in Raleigh, North Carolina, toppled statues.

A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled in Richmond, Virginia earlier this month.

On June 18 in New Jersey, a statue of Christopher Columbus was toppled and beheaded.

The Mahatma Gandhi statue in Washington also was defaced with personal insults to him with an anti-India slogan on June 2.

The protests against police brutality, some of which have been violent, were triggered by the extra-judicial killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man by a policeman in Minneapolis on May 25.