NEW HAVEN - Opponents and supporters of a Christopher Columbus statue in New Haven clashed Wednesday, shouting and at one point shoving each other shortly before the scheduled removal of the monument.
Dozens of people gathered around the statue in Wooster Square Park early in the morning. Supporters called it an important symbol of Italian American heritage, while opponents condemned Columbus as a white supremacist who touched off centuries of European oppression and the decimation of Indigenous peoples.
No arrests were reported.
The city planned to remove the 1892 statue later in the morning. Community leaders, including some Italian Americans, had called for it to be taken down, joining others across the country in demanding Columbus monuments be removed.
Columbus statues in Middletown and New London have been taken down already, while one in Hartford also is scheduled to be removed.
Rose Monaco was among the supporters of the New Haven statue who rallied Wednesday.
“This is part of our history, good, bad or indifferent,” the former New Haven resident told the New Haven Register. “You cannot just throw away history. What he did was an important part of history. I don’t condone any bad things that occurred.”