Pages

Friday, 24 July 2020

Statue of Christopher Columbus in Chicago's Grant Park is taken down under cover of darkness after Mayor Lightfoot ordered its removal following violent protests

  • Crews used a large crane to remove the statue from its pedestal in Grant Park in the early hours of Friday
  • News had spread on Thursday evening that Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot had authorized the statue's removal 
  • The statue had led to chaotic protests in the city after protesters tried to pull the monument down last week
  • Donald Trump has announced plans to send federal agents to Chicago following his intervention in Portland
A statue of Christopher Columbus in Chicago was removed under cover of darkness today after drawing chaotic protests in a wave of violence which has led to Donald Trump's deployment of federal forces in the city.  
Hours after news spread that mayor Lori Lightfoot had sanctioned the statue's removal, crews in Grant Park used a large crane to hoist the monument from its pedestal in the early hours of this morning.  
The statue of Columbus, seen by many as a symbol of racial oppression, had already been covered in a plastic wrap to protect it from vandals and was at the center of violent scenes last Friday night. Trump announced on Wednesday that federal agents would be sent to Chicago after last week's violence was followed by 12 fatal shootings over the weekend. 
The president's intervention was bitterly opposed by Lightfoot who said it would lead to a 'wave of opposition' amid anger over the federal crackdown in Portland, Oregon.  
Removal: Chicago's controversial statue of Christopher Columbus is hoisted away by a crane in the early hours of this morning, watched by a municipal crew who helped to remove it from Grant Park overnight
Removal: Chicago's controversial statue of Christopher Columbus is hoisted away by a crane in the early hours of this morning, watched by a municipal crew who helped to remove it from Grant Park overnight
Hours after news spread that mayor Lori Lightfoot had sanctioned the statue's removal, crews used a large crane to remove the monument from its pedestal as a small crowd gathered to watch in Grant ParkThe statue of Columbus, seen by many as a symbol of racial oppression, had already been covered in a plastic wrap to protect it from vandals and was at the center of violent scenes last Friday night
Toppled: City crews inspect the straps that are around the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park as they begin to remove it following violent protests over the monument
Toppled: City crews inspect the straps that are around the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park as they begin to remove it following violent protests over the monument 
The statue was removed in front of a small cheering crowd in the early hours of Friday while passing cars honked as the monument was winched to the ground. 
It was driven away on the back of a truck after coming down at around 3am, but it was unclear where the monument would be taken.  
Reports had emerged on Thursday night that Lightfoot had authorized the statue's removal after previously opposing the move.  
Protesters had already gathered outside the Chicago mayor's house Thursday night to demand she defund the police and turf Trump's federal agents out of the city. 
Chants turned from 'f*** CPD' to cheers of elation when someone announced over the microphone that the city is planning to take the controversial Columbus monuments down from Grant Park and Little Italy.  
However, there was outrage at the decision from Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara who slammed Lightfoot as a 'coward'.   Steve Cortes, spokesman for pro-Trump Super PAC America First, called the mayor 'feckless' and accused her of giving in to 'violent nihilists'. 
Several Italian-American leaders in Chicago said the community was unhappy with the decision. 
Gianni Pasquale of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans blasted it a betrayal to the Italian-American community for many of whom Columbus is a symbolic figure. 
'The Italian American community feels betrayed. The Mayor's office is giving into a vocal and destructive minority. This is not how the democratic process is supposed to work,' he said. 
A crane removes the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park from its plinth after mayor Lori Lightfoot authorized the move
A crane removes the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park from its plinth after mayor Lori Lightfoot authorized the move
A worker on the ground raises his hands towards the Columbus statue as it is hoisted back to ground level by the large crane
A worker on the ground raises his hands towards the Columbus statue as it is hoisted back to ground level by the large crane
A group of people in support of the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue cheer as the it is driven away from Grant Park
A group of people in support of the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue cheer as the it is driven away from Grant Park
Crews used a large crane to remove the statue from its pedestal as a small crowd gathered to watch. Some lorries were nearby but it was not clear where the toppled statue would be taken
Crews used a large crane to remove the statue from its pedestal as a small crowd gathered to watch. Some lorries were nearby but it was not clear where the toppled statue would be taken 
Two cops and a small crowd of others watch on as the statue is removed early on Friday morning
Two cops and a small crowd of others watch on as the statue is removed early on Friday morning
Police walk around at the site of the covered Columbus statue after protesters attempted to topple it Friday. Police were guarding the monument when they were hit with fireworks, authorities said
Police walk around at the site of the covered Columbus statue after protesters attempted to topple it Friday. Police were guarding the monument when they were hit with fireworks, authorities said
Hordes of police targeted protesters with pepper spray and wooden batons at last Friday's protest. A view of police descending upon the monument and pushing demonstrators out above
Hordes of police targeted protesters with pepper spray and wooden batons at last Friday's protest. A view of police descending upon the monument and pushing demonstrators out aboveThe protest attempted to pull down a Christopher Columbus statue with ropes +17The protest attempted to pull down a Christopher Columbus statue with ropes
The protest attempted to pull down a Christopher Columbus statue with ropes
Last night, protesters gathered at the intersection near Lightfoot's home before they learned the statue was to come down
Last night, protesters gathered at the intersection near Lightfoot's home before they learned the statue was to come down 
Federal agents use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland - an intervention which is now being extended to Chicago by Donald Trump
Federal agents use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland - an intervention which is now being extended to Chicago by Donald Trump 
The statue of Columbus was at the center of last Friday's violence when cops unleashed tear gas on protesters and several were left injured after they attempted to tear down the statue. 
At least 20 complaints of police brutality were filed against officers following the night's events, with one activist Miracle Boyd saying she had one of her teeth knocked out by a cop when they smacked her in the face. 
Days later, Chicago police released footage showing protesters aiming fireworks and frozen water bottles at officers and announced 49 officers had been injured by 'criminal agitators' in the commotion.       
On Tuesday in another neighborhood, a spray of bullets from a car passing a gang member's funeral wounded 15 people and sent dozens running for their lives.  
'I've never seen things worse in this city than they are right now,' said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest and longtime activist on the city's South Side.  
Trump announced on Wednesday that federal agents would be sent to Chicago, ignoring Lightfoot's warnings that deploying paramilitary personnel would 'spell disaster' for the city. 
'What we do not need, and what will certainly make our community less safe is secret, federal agents deployed to Chicago,' Lightfoot said in a letter to Trump. 
''Secret, federal agents who do not know Chicago, are unfamiliar with the unique circumstances of our neighborhoods and who would operate outside the established infrastructure of local law enforcement would not be effective, regardless of the number, and worse will foment a massive wave of opposition,' Lightfoot said.  
A collection of activist groups had filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, seeking to block federal agents from interfering in or policing protests.  
However, Lightfoot sought to ease concerns that the surge will resemble the kind of scene that unfolded in Portland, where unidentified agents in camouflage have beaten unarmed protesters and stuffed some of them into unmarked vehicles.
Police in riot gear gather in the streets of the city Thursday night before news of the removal of the statue spread
Police in riot gear gather in the streets of the city Thursday night before news of the removal of the statue spread
A huge crowd of protesters cheered in celebration Thursday night (pictured) as Chicago announced plans to topple its Christopher Columbus statue
A huge crowd of protesters cheered in celebration Thursday night (pictured) as Chicago announced plans to topple its Christopher Columbus statue
Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot was slammed by the Italian-American community over the move with some saying they felt 'betrayed'
Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot was slammed by the Italian-American community over the move with some saying they felt 'betrayed'
Lightfoot said she has been told the U.S. Attorney's Office will supervise the additional agents supporting the Chicago offices of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
But given the longstanding animosity between city officials and Trump, leaders from the mayor downwards worry that those promises will not hold up.
City officials will be on guard for any 'steps out of line,' particularly from agents with the Homeland Security Department, and they will not hesitate 'to take the president to court,' Lightfoot said. 
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Attorney General Bill Barr both said the mission in Portland — to protect federal property — differs from the focus in Kansas City, Chicago and Albuquerque.
Barr said the number of agents being deployed to Chicago is 'comparable' to the Kansas City surge of more than 200.
Trump, who is making law and order a central theme of his re-election campaign, painted Democrat-led cities as out of control and lashed out at the 'radical left.
'In recent weeks, there has been a radical movement to defend, dismantle and dissolve our police department,' Trump said, blaming the movement for 'a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.'
Lightfoot has repeatedly said she does not support protesters' calls to pull money from police in favor of social services. 


1 comment:

  1. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.


    We are witnessing nothing short of a childlike temper tantrum being thrown by our “fearless leader.”

    In the dead of night, Chicago’s statue of Christopher Columbus came down.

    The mayor of Chicago, a confused woman, angry to the core, wanting so desperately to fit in with the people that she most admires; the worthless charlatans, brought down the statue of the man who sowed the seeds of Western civilization in the New World. His discovery allowed her to be where she is today.

    The problem with the Left is they want to destroy everything because they are frustrated with the fact they’ve never produced anything of value. They haven't actually made anything that will improve people‘s lives, so this frustration and internal conflict makes them angry. This intense anger makes them desperate to justify their existence. Realizing they’re not producing anything worthwhile, the only way they can feel any ounce of worth is to produce havoc.

    Anger, envy, and hatred is the result when they realize that they are basically worthless to society; they are people that if they didn’t exist, it wouldn't really matter, nothing would really change. These people never created a lightbulb or anything worthwhile, they couldn’t construct a home, they couldn’t construct a car, they couldn’t build something as basic as a washing machine; they are the true parasites of society and their only purpose for living is to destroy, on a whim, anything they deem unworthy.

    The only consolation is that they will be the forgotten ones, their names will be flushed down the toilet, condemned to the sewers of history as society’s pitiful people, whereas no matter what these parasites do, Columbus cannot be erased as the great explorer he was.

    ReplyDelete