The crusade against Christopher Columbus and American history took another turn in the past week, as a statue of the famous explorer was given police protection.
A squad of police was assigned to protect the monument in Manhattan’s Columbus Square, CBS reported. The cops were placed there after Columbus statues around New York City in recent weeks were vandalized.
“The NYPD is closely tracking the social media campaign and regularly assessing security needs around Columbus statues,” said Austin Finan, a spokesman for New York’s City Hall.
Both uniformed and plainclothes officers are now assigned to protect the statue 24 hours a day. There also are cameras on the statue.
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“That’s really unfortunate,” Philip Foglia of the Italian American Legal Defense and Education Fund told CBS New York. “Italian Americans have paraded peacefully for 80 years and now for it to create a situation where there may be some violation or desecration doesn’t serve any purpose at all.”
Columbus has long been a symbol of pride in the Italian American community.
President Benjamin Harrison declared the first Columbus Day in 1892 to observe the 400th anniversary of the explorer’s first trip to America. Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it a federal holiday in 1937.
This is not the first time Columbus Day was targeted by cultural warriors. Back in the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan tried to get rid of the holiday because it celebrated a Roman Catholic, The Truth about Columbus website noted. Klansmen even burned crosses in an attempt to disrupt a Columbus Day celebration.
The modern anti-Columbus movement began in 1989 when members of the American Indian Movement dumped buckets of blood on a statue of the explorer in Denver, Washington Post writer Steven Hendrix noted. Since then, anti-Columbus protests inspired by left-wing historian Howard Zinn have become common.
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