A rally was held in New York by those who wish to see the removal of a statue of Christopher Columbus from where it has stood since the 1800’s.
The statue is currently under review by a special task force implemented by Mayor Bill de Blasio designed to remove ‘symbols of hate’ in New York City.
Friday night, demonstrators took to Columbus Circle where the statue is prominently displayed in a busy round-about at the base of Central Park, carrying signs that read: ‘Columbus didn’t discover America he invaded it.’
Another sign called the statue ‘A tribute to racism and genocide.’
Columbus has been hailed in American-lore as discovering the new world on his expedition in 1492 on behalf on the Spanish empire. But critics note his cruel treatment of the native inhabitants of the Caribbean and South America and his active participation in the slave trade.
Mayor de Blasio’s call for reviews of various historical figures comes after the deadly events in Charlotesville, Virginia earlier this month where a rally was held to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. (RELATED: 10 Disturbing Tweets Posted By Racist Charlottesville Vice Mayor)
The rally turned deadly when a car plowed into a group of demonstrators, killing 34-year-old Heather Heyer, who was protesting white supremacists.
On Friday morning at City Hall, there was another rally, this time for the Columbus statue to stay put.
‘It’s Columbus today and who knows who will be on this secret list tomorrow,’ Staten Island Councilmen Joe Borelli said Thursday, according to CBS New York. ‘This is an unfortunate chapter in New York City’s history.’
Comedian Joe Piscopo also spoke out about leaving the historical monument right where it is at the rally attended by politicians, individuals and community groups.
‘The one iconic symbol for Italian-Americans was Christopher Columbus. He’s flawed, we’re all flawed — hey, I’m flawed. Does that mean I’m not gonna get a rest stop named after me on the Jersey Turnpike?’ he said. ‘Stop the political correctness. The political correctness is killing us.’
The statue was offered as a gift to New York by the city’s Italian community in 1892, and groups such as the NYPD Columbia Association, which includes thousands of Italian American police officers, are fighting to keep the statue in place.
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