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South Philadelphia Group Vows To Stand Guard At Christopher Columbus Statue 'Around The Clock,' Block Its Removal

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- After a monthslong battle, the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia will be moved to storage. The Art Commission has made its decision to move the statue, but some residents plan to fight that decision in court.

"They can't do that," South Philly resident Maureen Fratantoni said.

After dozens of hours of community testimony and the Historical Commission's vote to move the Columbus statue, the Art Commission voted to place it in storage for six months until a decision is made on its long-term home.

Neighbors from The Gravy Seals community group say not on their watch.

"We'll be here around the clock. We'll see if construction equipment comes to remove that statue as they announced, we'll block the equipment for coming. That's our plan," Kevin Consolo said.

The concern is that protests, which have become violent in the past, will continue at the Marconi Plaza, making it a threat to public safety.

The City of Philadelphia is now responsible for safely removing and placing it in storage.

"I think it's a real big insult to the entire Italian American community what's going on here," Fratantoni said.

This will be the second statue in the city to be moved since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis and protests denouncing police brutality and systematic racism in the country erupted.

However, those against Wednesday's decision say they will not allow the statue to be moved until a judge rules.

"We've had a Frank Rizzo mural and statue removed in the middle of the night because it causes problems for somebody else," Consolo said.

The law firm Bochetto & Lentz has filed a complaint in common pleas court and as of this afternoon, we're told there will be no movement until the court has a full opportunity to review all legal documents.

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