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Providence Columbus statue removed while future determined

June 25, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2019, file photo, a sign reading "stop celebrating genocide" sits at the base of a statue of Christopher Columbus in Providence, R.I., after it was vandalized with red paint. Mayor Jorge Elorza said Thursday, June 25, 2020, the statue will be taken down and placed in storage while its future is discussed by a city panel. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2019, file photo, a sign reading "stop celebrating genocide" sits at the base of a statue of Christopher Columbus in Providence, R.I., after it was vandalized with red paint. Mayor Jorge Elorza said Thursday, June 25, 2020, the statue will be taken down and placed in storage while its future is discussed by a city panel. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Christopher Columbus statue in Providence, often targeted by vandals, will be taken down and placed in storage while its future is discussed by a city panel, Mayor Jorge Elorza said Thursday.

The six-member Special Committee for Commemorative Works, proposed last November and recently approved by the City Council, will discuss the statue’s future and make a recommendation to the city’s Board of Parks Commissioners, which has the final say, he said.

The statue in the city’s Elmwood neighborhood was splashed with red paint, and a sign reading “Stop celebrating genocide” was leaned against the pedestal on the holiday named for the 15th century Italian navigator last October. It was vandalized again about a month later.

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Elorza said then he’d consider moving it to the traditionally Italian American Federal Hill neighborhood.

The statue was guarded by police on Tuesday night after they developed intelligence that someone was planning to tear it down.

Columbus statues around the nation have recently become the targets of activists protesting police brutality and demanding racial justice.

Native American advocates have pressed states to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day over concerns that Columbus spurred centuries of genocide against Indigenous populations in the Americas.

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