A small crowd cheered and passing cars honked as the statue came down about 3 a.m.
The statue was being removed partly to de-escalate tensions between protesters and police as unrest continues in the nation's third-largest city, the Chicago Tribune reported. "Maybe we all forgot why we celebrate Christopher Columbus, and to take somebody who's a symbol of hope from us, we're not OK with that", said Giangrande. The Columbus statue in Chicago's Grant Park and another in the city's Little Italy neighborhood were vandalized last month, and statues of Columbus have also been toppled or vandalized in other U.S. cities.
There had been heated confrontations between protesters and supporters of the statue hours before.
"It comes in response to demonstrations that became unsafe for both protesters and police, as well as efforts by individuals to independently pull the Grant Park statue down in an extremely risky manner", the statement said.
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One need only look at the "independent" intelligence experts who contributed to the report to understand its intent. The panel called for the government to appoint a commission to look into the issue and report back to the public.
Statues of Columbus and other figures connected to colonialism and slavery have been torn from their plinths in the United States and around the world in the wake of protests sparked by the May killing in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed African American, in Minneapolis.
Newly elected Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West said on Friday that the targeting of the Christopher Columbus statues in Chicago is a "distraction" over the violence that has erupted.
Lightfoot said all statues and murals across Chicago will be up for debate, not just the one of Columbus. "This is not how the Democratic process is supposed to work", he told WLS-TV.
Earlier in the night, Wheeler was jeered as he tried to rally demonstrators who have clashed nightly with federal agents sent in by President Donald Trump to quell ongoing unrest in the city. Lightfoot had previously refused, saying it was not appropriate to erase history. A collection of activist groups had filed suit Thursday, seeking to block federal agents to combat violent crime from interfering in or policing protests.