Two statues of Christopher Columbus ‘temporarily’ removed in Chicago

Two statues of Christopher Columbus ‘temporarily’ removed in Chicago
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Two statues of Christopher Columbus have been “temporarily” removed in Chicago.

A statue of the Italian explorer in Chicago’s Grant Park was taken down early on Friday, a week after protesters trying to topple the monument clashed with police.

Crews used a large crane to remove the statue from its pedestal as a small crowd gathered to watch.

A crane removes the Christopher Columbus statue (Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times/AP)

Hours later, a second statue of Columbus was also removed from Arrigo Park in Chicago’s Little Italy neighbourhood.

The statues’ removal come amid a plan by President Donald Trump to dispatch federal law enforcement agents to the city to respond to gun violence.

In a statement issued after the statues were taken down, the office of Democratic mayor Lori Lightfoot said they were being “temporarily removed … until further notice”.

It said the removals were “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”.

“This step 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 mayor’s office said in the statement, which said the statues were removed following “consultation with various stakeholders”.

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