Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the statue of Christopher Columbus removed from Chicago’s Grant Park in the middle of the night. The move was obviously planned to avoid another high-profile confrontation between police and protesters like the one that happened last week.
Many people are unhappy with the decision; including some Italian American leaders in Chicago. Some groups of course will believe that by taking the statue down, Lightfoot just caved to activist demands.
The Daily Mail reports,
Hours after news spread that mayor Lori Lightfoot had sanctioned the statue’s removal, crews in Grant Park used a large crane to hoist the monument from its pedestal in the early hours of this morning.
The statue of Columbus, seen by many as a symbol of racial oppression, had already been covered in a plastic wrap to protect it from vandals and was at the center of violent scenes last Friday night.
Trump announced on Wednesday that federal agents would be sent to Chicago after last week’s violence was followed by 12 fatal shootings over the weekend.
The president’s intervention was bitterly opposed by Lightfoot who said it would lead to a ‘wave of opposition’ amid anger over the federal crackdown in Portland, Oregon.
Watch video of removal:
Crews arrived at Grant Park sometime around 1:00 a.m. and began the process of bringing down the monument honoring Columbus a little afterward. A couple dozen people cheered from across the street and passing cars honked as the statue came down at about 3 a.m. Friday morning.
The Chicago Tribune notes:
The removal capped off an at-times surreal evening. Late Thursday, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara made his way to the statue wearing an “Italia” T-shirt. He lounged around, talking with cops, criticizing Lightfoot, and promising there would be a pro-police protest there on Saturday even if the statue stayed in place..
He also got into debates with anti-Columbus protesters, some of which grew heated.
Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, whose ward includes parts of downtown, said the mayor decided to remove the statue “unilaterally.” The mayor’s office did not immediately comment.