City of Philadelphia will seek removal of Columbus statue from Marconi Plaza

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia will seek the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza, officials announced on Wednesday.

In a news release, the city said that on Wednesday, July 22, it will ask the Philadelphia Art Commission to approve the removal.

Before that presentation, however, the city said it will allow for public input through written submissions. Those submissions are due by Tuesday, July 21.

"I think its a great first step," said Dana Valezquez.

"I understand that it may offend some people, but just because it offends one person and doesn't offend another person, doesn't mean it should all be taken down," said Anthony Giordano with Stand Up South Philly.

The public will also have an opportunity to testify at the Art Commission meeting. The city said more details on that process will be shared when available.

RELATED: Protest in Philadelphia as tensions grow over Christopher Columbus statue

Some residents claim the statue is an important part of Italian-American heritage and should be left alone. Others were denouncing Columbus, calling him a symbol of hate and oppression.

The statue has caused growing tension in recent weeks.

RELATED: Suspect charged after photographer punched during protest at Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia
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A man is facing charges after another night of unrest near the Christopher Columbus statue at Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia.

On Tuesday night, video captured a man attacking a photographer at the site of the statue.

And another woman told Action News that she was assaulted near the statue in an unprovoked attack on Monday night.

Some South Philly residents have guarded the statue since news surfaced that it could be taken down. They say they aren't looking for trouble but would like to see the statue stay put.

"We come here to protect the neighborhood. We're not here to brawl. But a lot of people from the other side are pushing a lot of buttons. When does it stop? Everything is boarded up," said one resident.

The city has released this statement on the statue of the statue:

"Christopher Columbus became a symbol of Italian communities' contributions to U.S. history, but scholars and historians have uncovered first-hand documentation establishing that his arrival in the Americas also marked the beginning of the displacement and genocide of Indigenous people.

In recent weeks, clashes between those individuals who support the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza and those who are distressed by its existence have deteriorated to a concerning public safety situation. It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue.

The City is committed to finding a way forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture, while respecting the histories and circumstances of others that come from different backgrounds."

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Tensions continue to rise as a box is placed around Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza

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