Christopher Columbus statue taken down at Chicago park

CHICAGO (AP) — A statue of Christopher Columbus in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park was taken down yesterday, a week after protesters trying to topple the monument to the Italian explorer clashed with police.

Crews used a large crane to remove the statue from its pedestal as a small crowd gathered to watch. The crowd cheered and passing cars honked as the statue came down about 3am. Several work trucks were seen in the area, but it was unclear where the statue would be taken.

The Associated Press sent an email yesterday seeking comment from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office.

Plans to remove the statue were first reported on Thursday night by the Chicago Tribune and the removal followed hours of vocal confrontations between opponents and supporters of the statue. And on July 17, protesters clashed with police, who used batons to beat people and made arrests after they said protesters targetted them with fireworks, rocks and other items.

“This statue coming down is because of the effort of Black and Indigenous activists who know the true history of Columbus and what he represents,” Stefan Cuevas-Caizaguano, a resident watching the removal, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

A group of people in support of the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue cheer as it is driven away from Grant Park in Chicago. PHOTO: AP