Christopher Columbus statue in Philadelphia to remain in box for parade, judge rules

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Christopher Columbus statue in Philadelphia to remain in box for parade, judge rules

A Christopher Columbus statue in Philadelphia will remain boxed up for the city’s Columbus Day parade, a judge ruled on Saturday.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Paula Patrick overturned a lower court’s ruling on Friday that would’ve removed the box before the city of Brotherly Love appealed the decision.

The statue, located in South Philly’s Marconi Plaza where Sunday’s parade will end, has been shut inside a wooden box since last summer’s civil unrest, sparked by the police murder of George Floyd.

The statue and plaza became a site of several violent clashes between opposing protest groups.

The Italian explorer, often credited with discovering the New World has a complex legacy. For many Italian-Americans, Columbus is a cultural hero for his courageous exploits; but for many other indigenous peoples and minorities he is a symbol of violent colonization and oppression.

The city, led by Mayor Jim Kenney, has pushed to have the statue of Italian explorer completely removed from the park dating back to last year.

Philadelphia's Christopher Columbus statue has been covered up since June 2020.
Philadelphia’s Christopher Columbus statue has been covered up since June 2020.
AP

In August, Patrick ruled that the city’s decision to remove the statue was not supported by law and based on insufficient evidence, according to local reports.

On Saturday, Patrick overturned an order from the Commonwealth Court that would have unboxed the statue, granting the city’s emergency appeal.

The city said the decision is a public safety measure given the violence the statue has incited in the past.

“Removing the plywood covering during this holiday weekend would pose a serious public safety risk,” the mayor’s office said in a statement to NBC10.

Mayor Kenney said in a statement on Twitter Saturday night that he was pleased with the court’s decision, adding that no decision has been made in regard to the statue permanently.

“Grateful that the Commonwealth Court took the time to review this important matter tonight. The Commonwealth Court reinstated the stay and overturned the Court of Common Pleas order from earlier today. No action will be taken with respect to the statue at this time.”

A police officer is posted next to the statue, and extra security measures are in place to keep the peace after the judge’s order, CBS 3 reported

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