The City of San Francisco removed a statue of Christopher Columbus on Thursday that Black Lives Matter protesters had planned to destroy on Friday because of concerns for the health and safety of demonstrators and bystanders.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
San Francisco officials removed a 4,000-pound statue of Christopher Columbus from its pedestal at Coit Tower early Thursday morning to do away with what to many was a symbol of oppression.
The city’s Arts Commission arranged for the statue’s removal with the approval of Mayor London Breed and other city leaders.
Rachelle Axel, director of public and private partnerships for the commission, said in an email that the statue was taken down because “it doesn’t align with San Francisco’s values or our commitment to racial justice.”
But removing it swiftly was also a matter of public safety, she said. The statue had been vandalized three times last week, and a flyer circulating on social media encouraged people to march to Coit Tower Friday to take it down and throw it over Pier 31 into the bay.
The flyer for the Black Lives Matter protest called explicitly for the statue’s destruction.
Attacks on statues, flags, and other public displays perceived to be symbols of racism or historical injustice have become more frequent in recent years, and particularly in the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last month.
However, the destruction and vandalism has not been limited to colonial figures, Confederate leaders, or even slave-owning Founders of the nation (including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson).
In Philadelphia, a statue of abolitionist Matthias Baldwin was defaced. In Washington, DC, the Lincoln Memorial was vandalized.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.