Crowds Cheer After Philadelphia Court Orders Uncovering of Columbus Statue

A Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania three-judge panel has ordered authorities in Philadelphia must remove a plywood box covering a statue of Christopher Columbus that Democratic officials have been trying to remove since the famous Italian explorer became the subject of Black Lives Matter demonstrations. 

Senior Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt issued the ruling Friday following an appeal by the City of Philadelphia over a request by the Friends of Marconi Plaza to have the box removed after two years of being covered up.

"We are very disappointed in the Court’s ruling," a spokesperson for Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said after the ruling. "We continue to believe that the Christopher Columbus statue, which has been a source of controversy in Philadelphia, should be removed from its current position at Marconi Plaza. We are continuing to review the Court’s latest ruling and are working to comply with the Court’s orders, including unboxing.

"While we will respect this decision, we will also continue to explore our options for a way forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture while respecting the histories and circumstances of everyone’s different backgrounds."

The decision was welcomed by Attorney George Bochetto, who represented Friends of Marconi Plaza in their bid to protect the historic statue and other forms of historical heritage. 

“As a proud Citizen of Philadelphia, I am delighted that both Judge Patrick of the Court of Common Pleas and the Judges of the Commonwealth Court have boldly reaffirmed that the rule of law still matters," Bochetto wrote in a brief statement. "That we are not a society ruled by cancel culture mobs. That all ethnic groups can proudly protect and honor their diverse heritages."

Controversy over the statue began in 2020 during the nationwide Black Lives Matter riots that took place following the murder of criminal George Floyd. Opponents argued that although Columbus was a celebrated explorer, he also enslaved Indigenous people and in many cases abused or even murdered them.

As a city with a strong Italian-American community, many locals consider Columbus a symbol of their heritage. However, this opinion was not shared by Mayor Kenney, who argued it had become a matter of public safety and even signed an executive order last year changing the name of the city’s annual Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day.


Image: Title: Columbus


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