Philadelphia (AP) – A state court ruling will leave the plywood box for the time being – on a statue of Christopher Columbus that the city is trying to remove from South Philadelphia Park since Explorer has been the focus of nationwide protests. Became racial injustice
Of Philadelphia Inquiry. The Commonwealth Court reportedly overturned a decision by a Commonwealth Court judge before Saturday night’s decision to allow the immediate removal of the box covering the statue at Marconi Plaza. ۔
City Representative Kevin Lessard said Saturday night that removing the veil during the weekend would be “a serious threat to public safety.” He had earlier said that officials would stop any attempt to remove the cover before the state court hearing.
Attorney George Buschito, who represents supporters of the 144-year-old statue, vowed to keep it visible until Sunday’s scheduled parade in the plaza ends.
Commonwealth Court Judge Paula Patrick said Friday that the city could create a clear structure to protect the monument, but that plywood should be removed.
In Philadelphia, a city with deep Italian heritage, supporters say they see Columbus as a symbol of that heritage. Mayor Jim Kenney said Columbus had been revered as an explorer for centuries but had a “very infamous” history, enslaving locals and imposing punishments such as mutilation or even death.
Kenny had previously signed an executive order renaming the city’s annual Columbus Day holiday as Local People’s Day. Monday will be the city’s first holiday under the new name.
Kenny called the removal of the statue a matter of public safety, following the unrest following the murder of George Floyd’s Minneapolis police last year. However, Patrick wrote that the city had failed to provide evidence that the removal of the statue was necessary for public safety, and called the confrontation “isolated civil unrest.”
The judge ruled in August that the statue could remain in the plaza, calling the decision to remove it “disturbing” and based on unsupported and insufficient evidence by law. The decision overturned a decision by the City Licensing Board, which upheld the city’s historic commission’s July 2020 removal of the statue.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit settlement announced last month has allowed another 106-foot-tall Christopher Columbus monument to land on Penns Landing on the Delaware River to remove the cover for the future.