We’re old enough to remember the last round of national hysteria about statues in 2017; it was enough so that Baltimore literally removed all its Confederate statues at once in the dead of night, having crews working from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. to avoid any violence.
Vandals have already pulled down and/or beheaded statues of Christopher Columbus, but Philadelphia’s mayor is seeking to have the city remove its Columbus statue before someone gets hurt — there were reports of clashes Tuesday night between Black Lives Matter protesters and armed men who stood guard over the statue to protect it from vandalism.
Philadelphia city officials have announced they intend to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza, which Tuesday night attracted armed men that physically clashed with #BlackLivesMatter protesters.https://t.co/EFcOQu9jMa
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) June 24, 2020
Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement Wednesday afternoon the city will ask the Art Commission on July 22 to approve the statue’s removal “in light of ongoing public safety concerns about the presence of armed individuals at Marconi Plaza and confrontations between those who support the statue and those opposed to it.”
Some supporters of the statue have repeatedly stood at its base and milled around the public plaza, some carrying weapons, claiming they were defending it from anyone with an intention of tearing it down. Observers said members of the group physically attacked protesters on June 14. And a group Tuesday night brawled with protesters who marched to the plaza after a protest “against racist vigilantes and their cop allies.”
Frankly, we’re surprised the vandals hadn’t already toppled the statue, but the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that it’s been boxed up since last week while the city decided what to do with it. (If you search for the statue on Google, some wit has renamed it “Schrodinger’s Columbus Statue Box.”)
My city continuing to make me proud. #PhillyProtests
— Johnathan S. Perkins, Esq. ? (@JohnathanPerk) June 24, 2020
You're proud of these protests? All they see is chaos, violence, destroying property, Looting. It doesn't gain anyone respect. The protests are supposed to help the situation. The message is not getting across. The cause is being twisted cause of it.
— J Rag™ (@jragmusic) June 24, 2020
Do people really think about statues when they walk by? It’s like a non issue
— RodY (@wizardRY86) June 24, 2020
They walked past these statues for decades, but it wasn’t until 2017 that minorities made clear the pain it made them feel, apparently.
Why is this surprising or news? This was obvious as this escalated and then the city boarded it up. Old news.
— DonW (@DonW19580990) June 24, 2020
— TONY™️ (@TONYxTWO) June 24, 2020
Wtf does public safety even mean in this situation
— khakiturtle4253 (@dagmaweamanuel) June 24, 2020
Means it's an excuse he can grasp to get rid of it, probably.
— Food for thought (@Shovesta2) June 24, 2020
Can he remove the rioters for the same reason or no? Asking for a friend.
— ??☠️Jack☠️?? ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@AdmJackSparrow) June 24, 2020
What if they simply remove the mayor instead? Asking for a friend.
— Butterhund (@Butterhund1) June 24, 2020
Worth a shot. For “safety reasons”
— Harper (@AshbyHarper) June 24, 2020
I’d love to be in high school at this time being able to choose what I want to learn
— Joe G (@jgarrity20FS) June 24, 2020
Just a thought but why don't we remove those trying to tear it down.
— TheRealBamarep (@TheRealBamarep) June 24, 2020
— Reed (@The_Red_Ned) June 24, 2020
— Paul Watty (@Paul3Watty8) June 24, 2020
I mean is the statue attacking people??♂️
— Chris Burnette???? (@Lieutfd5) June 24, 2020
When Statues Attack!
— Brian Doherty (@BDOH) June 24, 2020
How about just do your job and protect your city.
— Nick Henkemeyer (@Nick_Henk) June 24, 2020
Please don’t remove down the Rocky statue ?
— Paul Davis (@PaulDavisTX) June 24, 2020
Speaking of public safety, maybe the city doesn’t want a repeat of May 30, when the mostly peaceful and unarmed rioters were doing their thing:
Bedlam outside City Hall for George Floyd protests. Cop cars turned over and burning pic.twitter.com/y1REeLuLeD
— Pranshu Verma (@pranshuverma_) May 30, 2020
Starbucks at Dilworth outside City Hall burning pic.twitter.com/W5lbyvBbPG
— Pranshu Verma (@pranshuverma_) May 30, 2020
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) May 31, 2020
But the real danger is the armed men — um, racist white vigilantes — who haven’t fired a single shot.
Unicorn Riot’s pearl-clutching thread on RACIST WHITE VIGILANTES in South Philly protecting Columbus statue accidentally hilarious https://t.co/cwEF8bLcyC
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) June 14, 2020