MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of people have signed a petition put forth by a conservative think tank urging for the Christopher Columbus statue that was torn down last year to be restored to the Minnesota State Capitol grounds.
Protesters brought down the Columbus statue near the state capitol last June, amid the unrest following the death of George Floyd. Protesters said Columbus was responsible for Native American genocide, and it was time for the statue to go.READ MORE: ‘It Was Put Here For A Reason’: Minn. Senator Unveils Bill To Replace Christopher Columbus Statue
Damage to the statue was estimated at $154,000. The cost of installing a new sculpture could take three to six years and cost around $400,000.
The group American Experiment — who on its website says its mission is to “emphasize free enterprise, limited government, personal responsibility and government accountability” — says 4,755 signatures were received.
“We can’t let protesters decide which statues are allowed at the Capitol and other historical sites,” American Experiment President John Hinderaker said. “The failure of Gov. Walz to return the statue immediately sends the message that destruction of property is allowed as long as it fits a particular narrative.”
The group says Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan knew about the protest in advance and that the statue might be taken down, but did not stop the act.
At the time of the statue’s toppling, Flanagan said “I can’t say I’m sad the statue of Christopher Columbus is gone. I’m not.”
All Minnesotans should feel welcome at the Minnesota State Capitol, and our state is long overdue for a hard look at the symbols, statues, and icons that were created without the input of many of our communities. pic.twitter.com/O7SP2jSAkm
— Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (@LtGovFlanagan) June 11, 2020
The activist who toppled the Christopher Columbus statue, Michael Anthony Forcia, received 100 hours of community service and avoided a trial. The decision was reached with the help of a restorative justice program.
This isn’t the only petition that’s been signed by a number of people concerning the Columbus statue. In 2017, thousands signed a petition to take down the statue and replace it with one of Prince.