Sunday. 14.04.2024

 A controversial statue of the explorer Christopher Columbus has been removed in the US city of San Francisco after protesters voiced concern that it was a symbol of oppression.

The two-tonne statue, which was erected in 1957, was dismantled on Thursday by the city council after being targeted by protests and vandalism in recent years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

City official Catherine Stefani called the removal a "necessary step" in a statement posted on Twitter and said the monument represented the "painful foundations" of the country's history.

"The slavery, subjugation and conquest we must all condemn ... the statue has represented a fictional sanitized version of our history, celebrating the man while ignoring the trauma his actions have caused," Stefani said.

Last week, a statue of Columbus was beheaded in the city of Boston. Another was set on fire and thrown into a lake in the state of Virginia.

Black Lives Matter demonstrations have erupted in numerous cities across the United States following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died while being restrained by a police officer in Minneapolis on 25 May.

Targeting statutes

Protesters have been targeting statues that they say represent the persecution of African-Americans and other minorities.

Columbus was one of the first Europeans in the New World and is often referred to as the discoverer of America. Historians and civil rights activists, however, criticize Columbus for enslaving Native Americans.

"Removing the statue is not about erasing history," Stefani said.

"It is about showing love to our friends and neighbors who are hurting in this moment, to communities that have been hurting for centuries."

Statue of Christopher Columbus removed in San Francisco