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Coit Tower Christopher Columbus Statue Removed

Eric Killby

San Francisco city workers moved a 4,000 pound Christopher Columbus statue into storage Thursday morning.

The Christopher Columbus statue near Coit Tower has been a point of contention for years. The city arts commission did restorations on the statue only a few weeks ago. Since then, it's been vandalized three times and was drenched with red paint, just last week.

The statue was removed ahead of a protest planned in San Francisco. Anti-police brutality protesters have been forcibly removing statues across the country—of figures like Thomas Jefferson and John Sutter. Earlier this week, state legislators decided to remove a Columbus statue from the Capitol Building in Sacramento.

Protesters are doing what many Native Americans in the U.S. have demanded for decades: removing statues of figures that, for them, represent the exploitation and genocide of indigenous people. San Francisco City Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Catherine Stefani issued this joint statement:

"We recognize the pain and oppression that Christopher Columbus represents to many. We believe that through public art we can and should honor the heritage of all of our people, including our Italian-American community, but in doing so we should choose symbols that unify us."

The Arts Commission will now work with the public to decide on a replacement statue.