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BREAKING NEWS

Los Angeles topples its Christopher Columbus statue

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Los Angeles topples its Christopher Columbus statue
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A statue of the 15th century explorer Christopher Columbus that has stood for 45 years in Los Angeles' Grand Park was taken down on Saturday.

Indigenous groups have protested for years the celebration of the Italian sailor's past, which they consider the start of a mass genocide that ended their way of life.

"The statue of Christopher Columbus rewrites a stained chapter of history that romanticises expansions of European empires and exploitations of natural resources and of human beings," NBC local quoted Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis as saying.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said more than 100 residents watched the removal.

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The statue's removal follows the LA City Council and County Board of Supervisors' vote last year to cancel the October Christopher Columbus holiday and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day.

O'Farrell is a member of the Wyandotte Nation and headed the City Council effort to make the switch.

Los Angeles now commemorates the "day of the indigenous, aboriginal and native peoples."

The first celebration without Columbus was last October and included a 5K run, a parade of nations, panel sessions, a fashion show, and live music.

During that ceremony, the Columbus statue was covered with a black box.

The controversial statue was dedicated to the county in 1973 by the United Lodges of Southern California, Order Sons of Italy in America.

The Italian-American community argued the holiday was not just a celebration of Columbus, but also a day of Italian pride and heritage but the City Council sided with critics who said Columbus' connection to slavery and brutality makes him unworthy of celebration.

Reuters
Christopher Columbus monument at the port in BarcelonaReuters

There have previously been other calls by left-wing councillors in Barcelona to remove its Columbus statue there on the grounds that the explorer subjected another nation to “imperialism, oppression and segregation”.