NAACP of Greater Waterbury holds peaceful protest calling for removal of Christopher Columbus statue

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A peaceful protest was held in Waterbury on Columbus Day for the removal of a Christopher Columbus statue that has caused controversy in the city.

The Grand Street statue was beheaded back in July. Police said the vandal also broke off the nose and tried to sell it online.

RELATED: News 8 obtains surveillance video of the beheading of Waterbury’s Christopher Columbus statue

Waterbury’s Italian-American community came together to raise money to repair the statue — which became another hot button issue.

There’s a referendum on the ballot asking people if the statue should stay in front of the city hall or be moved once the head is reattached. The city says the statue’s head is set to be reattached after the election.

RELATED: Behind the scenes with the man restoring Waterbury’s beheaded Christopher Columbus statue

Monday’s protest was held by the NAACP of Greater Waterbury. The group stood in silence in front of the statue, calling for its removal.

Greater Waterbury NAACP President Ginne-Rae Clay gathered the group to encourage others to vote ‘no’ on the referendum.

She said of the silent protest, “It’s representative of the silence we received from the city in not making a decision to remove this statue immediately.”

The group is frustrated with the city’s decision to take it to referendum.

“This is causing a unified divide and division in the city. It shouldn’t even go up for a vote; if it’s causing division it should be taken down,” Clay told News 8. “My opinion is, this is the people’s house. This is not, and no offense to Italian-Americans, this is not their house. This is a house of all people who pay taxes here, who live here, who want to be represented properly in this city and feel comfortable in this city. That’s not what this statue represents and it should not be here on city property.” 

Members of the Italian-American community have been in favor of keeping the statue where it is. They say it’s a representation of their heritage.

The statue has been in its location for 36 years.

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