Two Christopher Columbus statues in Chicago have been removed by the city – at the direction of its mayor – "until further notice." Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said in a statement Friday the move "is about an effort to protect public safety and to preserve a safe space for an inclusive and democratic public dialogue about our city's symbols."
The statues were removed from Grant Park and Little Italy's Arrigo Park after protests, demonstrations and violent clashes with police, CBS Chicago reports. Crowds cheered overnight as the Grant Park statue was removed overnight. The statue in Little Italy was removed early Friday morning.
"It comes in response to demonstrations that became unsafe for both protesters and police, as well as efforts by individuals to independently pull the Grant Park statue down in an extremely dangerous manner," the mayor's office said.
Last week, a group of protesters clashed with police officers at the statue in Grant Park. Some of them tried to tear it down and attacked at least 18 officers during the demonstration, CBS Chicago reported.
"Over the coming days, Mayor Lightfoot and the City will be announcing a formal process to assess each of the monuments, memorials, and murals across Chicago's communities, and develop a framework for creating a public dialogue to determine how we elevate our city's history and diversity," her office said.
Protesters have taken to the streets nationwide in recent weeks demanding the removal of statues and monuments honoring Confederate figures and conquistadors – part of a protest movement that kicked off against racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death. Many monuments and statues have been targeted and vandalized and others have been toppled.