MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of protesters pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus Wednesday outside the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul.

The statue came down just after 5 p.m. to cheers. The protesters say Columbus was responsible for Native American genocide, and it was time for the statue to go.

John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, says officials were aware of the plan to remove the statue. Minnesota State Patrol troopers were also on hand before the toppling to inform protesters of the proper way to request the removal of statues.

The move occurred while Gov. Tim Walz was announcing his plan to convene a special legislative session this Friday, focusing on police reform and economic recovery.

This is part of a wave of actions against historic monuments across the country and parts of Europe that are connected to racism and slavery — spurred by protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

“I can’t say I’m sad the statue of Christopher Columbus is gone. I’m not,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said.

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