(Natural News) Two statues of Christopher Columbus in Chicago have been taken down after city officials caved in to pressure from Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement, many of whom have been rioting for days to try and tear down these statues themselves.
The two statues are located in Grant Park in the Loop and in Arrigo Park in Little Italy. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, ordered the statues removed “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 order to remove the statues comes less than a week after no fewer than 19 officers from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) were hospitalized after they were endlessly physically assaulted by rioters for defending the Columbus statue in Grant Park. Videos taken from the event show the violent mob throwing all manner of projectiles, from bottles to soda cans and even rocks. Aerial footage from the incident even showed some rioters shooting fireworks at the CPD officers.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s silence on the assault against these Chicago police officers protecting the Columbus statue is deafening. pic.twitter.com/OjTIssC8t0
— Kara Zupkus (@kara_kirsten) July 18, 2020
Statues removed as mobs cheer
At around 1 a.m. on Friday, July 24, a crew began removing the statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park. The operation was completed at around 3 a.m., and the large statue was hauled off to the sound of cheering demonstrators.
On the same day, the statue of Columbus at Arrigo Park in Little Italy was also taken down. The process was completed by around 5:30 a.m. Both historical monuments will be relocated to a storage facility somewhere in the city. Their future fate remains unknown. (Related: City officials in Boston unanimously vote to TAKE DOWN statue showing Abraham Lincoln ENDING SLAVERY.)
NOW: Protesters react to the news that Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to remove the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park.
Video by @colinbphoto https://t.co/kLof5yI9qN pic.twitter.com/9JedsvTFOE
— Colin Boyle (@colinbphoto) July 24, 2020
The move is a reversal from Mayor Lightfoot’s original statements, which heavily criticized any attempt to get the statues of the Italian explorer removed on the grounds that it would be a grave act of historical revisionism. She has even rejected calls from demonstrators to have the Columbus Day holiday renamed.
There may be evidence to suggest that Lightfoot’s decision was forced, as this abrupt decision came just hours after several hundred demonstrators camped outside of Lightfoot’s own home in the Logan Square neighborhood.
City officials said they will be working on enacting a formal process to assess whether or not every single mural, monument and memorial in Chicago is worth keeping.
Italian American community disappointed with Lightfoot’s decision
Chicago’s Italian American community has reacted strongly against the removal of the Christopher Columbus statues.
“Are we happy about it? Absolutely not. As a community, we are extremely hurt,” said Sergio Giangrande, president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (JCCIA). The main organization, which ties together all civil society groups in the Chicago metropolitan area and advocates for the Italian American community, constitutes a little under 20 percent of the population of Chicago – or around 500,000 people.
Giangrande said he was previously reassured by Lightfoot’s earlier statements that the city would not be tearing down the statue of Columbus, or any kind of historical monument in the city.
Last week, Giangrande, on behalf of the JCCIA, sent letters to the mayor and to Heather Miller, the executive director of the American Indian Center in Chicago, a foundation that promotes the city’s Native American community. The letter proposed that, instead of tearing down the statue of Columbus in Little Italy, a plaque be installed instead that would highlight the “many versions of the history of Columbus.”
“I don’t understand what changed,” said Giangrande. “Are we giving in to the violence of the left at this point? … This was a decision made without us. We were not at the table to discuss what other options there were.”
Other members of the JCCIA have expressed similar sentiments, such as Pasquale Gianni, who said that Columbus’ statue represents the ability of the Italian American community to assimilate to American culture and to prosper using that culture.
Even residents of Little Italy have been very disappointed by Lightfoot’s reversal. Carlo Vaniglia, a resident, said that tearing down the statue was a slap in the face to the community. “If you take away statues or monuments you are no better than the Taliban because whether you like it or don’t like it, it’s history.”
Steve Mane, another resident, called Lightfoot a coward for not being able to stand up to the Black Lives Matter mob. Jeff Muehlfelder, another resident and a political candidate, said that many more Americans prefer keeping the statues of Columbus. “They’re called the silent majority,” he said.
Learn more about Antifa’s recent activities all over the United States at Antifa.news.