PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Christopher Columbus Statue at Marconi Plaza will remain boxed up, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court announced Saturday night. After a judge ordered Philadelphia officials to remove the box Friday, the Pennsylvania court ruled in favor of the city’s appeal.
BREAKING: Another twist in the legal standoff to “unbox” the Columbus statue in South Philly. A short time ago, Pa.’s Commonwealth Court granted the city’s emergency application which now reverses a lower court decision to uncover. The statue will remain boxed up. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/xrDnKEKuCX
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) October 10, 2021
Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement on Twitter that he’s grateful the court took the time to review the important matter. He tweeted earlier that “removing the plywood covering during this holiday weekend would pose a serious public safety risk.”
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Grateful that the Commonwealth Court took the time to review this important matter tonight. The Commonwealth Court reinstated the stay and overturned the Court of Common Pleas order from earlier today. No action will be taken with respect to the statue at this time. https://t.co/mZuujxy4u9
— Jim #VaxUpPhilly Kenney (@PhillyMayor) October 10, 2021
A Columbus Day Parade took place Sunday and ended at Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia.
Last summer, the statue became a hotspot in the wake of George Floyd’s murder as protests against systemic racism and injustice swept the country.
Protesters and supporters of Columbus clashed, sometimes violently, at Marconi Plaza.READ MORE: 'Everyone Was In Pure Panic': Good Samaritans Rush To Shooting Victims' Aid At Park City Center Mall
Some of those trying to protect the statue were seen holding bats and guns as they stood guard.
Common Pleas Judge Paul Patrick ruled in August the statue can remain in Marconi Plaza. She said then the city’s decision to remove the statue last year was not supported by law and was based on insufficient evidence. The city appealed the ruling.
The statue remains boxed up and blocked off by yellow police tape. A police officer is posted next to it, and extra security measures are in place to keep the peace after the judge’s order.
Those who live in the area say they will continue to protect the statue because it represents who they are and their Italian-American heritage.
“It’s a gift to Italian Americans,” one South Philadelphia resident said. “It’s a gift to all of the people who dare to dream.”
“Christopher Columbus is our representative and it is vital to our heritage and we are going to defend it as much as we can,” George Bochetto, an attorney for Friends of Marconi Plaza, said.MORE NEWS: Man In Critical Condition After Fairhill Shooting, Police Say
CBS3’s Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.