Selin ATAY-TDO- Two statues of Christopher Columbus that stood in Chicago parks were taken down early Friday by city authorities, a week after protesters trying to topple one of the monuments to the Italian explorer clashed with police.

One of the Christopher Columbus statue was removed from the city's Grant Park around 3 a.m., while the other was removed from Arrigo Park in the Little Italy neighborhood around 5:30 a.m.

The city’s mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement on Friday that the statues were being “temporarily removed ... until further notice”. 

Mayor Lightfoot stated that the decision “is about an effort to protect public safety and to preserve a safe space for an inclusive and democratic public dialogue about our city’s symbols.”

Last Friday, hundreds of protesters attempting to topple the statue in Grant Park faced off with dozens of Chicago police. Twelve people were arrested after some protesters began throwing fireworks, rocks and other objects  at officers, who beat protesters with their batons.

Protesters, who have been campaigning for the removal of monuments to Christopher Columbus for over a month across the U.S. argue that the Italian explorer mistreated indigenous people upon his arrival to the Americas.

The statues of Columbus, who claimed to have massacred Indigenous people during his exploration of the Americas, were also removed due to protests in the states of Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia and Minnesota in the United States.

Also, “Indigenous People’s Day”, which honors Native American peoples, began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. It is claimed that Columbus Day is a sanitation or covering-up of Christopher Columbus' actions such as enslaving Native Americans.

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