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Christopher Columbus statue toppled outside Minnesota State Capitol

State Troopers then surrounded the toppled statue while protestors remained on the scene.
Protesters in St. Paul, Minn. pulled a statue of Christopher Columbus off its pedestal at the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday. (KARE photo)

ST PAUL, Minn. (KARE) — A group of protesters toppled the Christopher Columbus statue outside the Minnesota State Capitol on Wednesday evening.

A few hours earlier, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington had been asked if he was aware of threats that the group had been making about taking down the statue. Harrington said that authorities would be present and would talk to the group about what the process would be to have the statue removed.

Despite this, the group toppled the statue later in the evening.

State Troopers then surrounded the toppled statue while protesters remained on the scene.

MPR News reported, prior to the statue coming down, there was interaction at the scene between a group led, in part, by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and troopers from the Minnesota State Patrol.

Members of the Native American community have been vocal opponents of tributes to Christopher Columbus for many years, with the American Indian Movement calling Columbus a "colonial pirate" and murderer in a 2005 news release calling for an end of the Columbus Day holiday.

According to a post on the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board (CAAPB) website, the 10-foot tall bronze Columbus statue was a gift from Minnesota's Italian American community and dedicated on October 12, 1931. It was later restored as part of preservation efforts in 1992.

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