Providence mayor says he’d consider moving Columbus statue

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The mayor of Providence said Tuesday he would consider moving a Christopher Columbus statue that was vandalized.

Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza told WPRO he’d entertain the idea of moving the statue from the city’s Elmwood neighborhood to the Federal Hill neighborhood, which is known for its Italian American community and Italian restaurants. His spokeswoman later said that any move would require input from the community.

“It is a treasure,” Elorza said. “So if there’s a way that we can preserve it in a way that makes more sense and satisfies all the constituencies, then I’m all for that.”

The statue was one of several Columbus statues around the nation vandalized with red paint and messages against the 15th century Italian navigator Monday when the U.S. holiday named for one of the first Europeans to reach the Americas was being celebrated.

The Providence statue was splashed with red paint, and a sign that said “Stop celebrating genocide” was leaned against the pedestal. The word “genocide” was written in orange paint on the pedestal.

The statue has been targeted by vandals on Columbus Day before. Elorza said people are entitled to their opinions about Columbus, but “this is about celebrating the contributions of Italian Americans here in our community and it’s something we should be proud of.”

The statue has been cleaned, according to his office.

A Columbus statue in the Southern California city of Chula Vista was also defaced Monday with red paint. In San Francisco, a Columbus statue at the foot of Coit Tower was vandalized sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Native American advocates have pressed states to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day over concerns that Columbus spurred centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas. A handful of states celebrated their first Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday.

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