Nancy Pelosi refuses to condemn protesters who pulled down Christopher Columbus statue
The speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi refused to condemn protesters who pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore when challenged at a press conference.
The statue was vandalised and rolled into Baltimore's Inner Harbour on Independence Day.
Pelosi said: “If the community doesn't want the statue there, the statue shouldn't be there. It's up to the communities to decide what statues they want to see,” she said.
She added the statue being toppled 'doesn't diminish my pride in my Italian American heritage'.
“I think that it's very important that we take down any of the statues of people who committed treason against the United States of America."
Columbus is known for being a great explorer but he also enslaved non-white people when he was colonising what is now the Dominican Republic.
The vandalism was a result of the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the US, and the world, following the death of George Floyd in May.
Pelosi, who is from Baltimore, also answered a question about whether statue choice should be up to a commission or protesters.
“People will do what they do,” she replied.
“I do think that from a safety standpoint, it would be a good idea to have it taken down if the community doesn't want it. I don't know that it has to be a commission.”
Around 300 people were present to see the statue roll into the harbour though parts of it were retrieved on Monday by emergency services.
Bernard Young, the city’s mayor, has said the people responsible will face justice and added protesters cannot ‘erase history. You learn from it’.
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