Police guard Christopher Columbus statues as vandalism strikes, protests planned

SOUTHINGTON— On this Columbus Day, many are upset over statues of the famed, but controversial explorer around the state.

Police are stepping up security after two Christopher Columbus statues were vandalized in Connecticut.

The statues were vandalized with red paint.  One is in New Haven on Wooster Square and the second is in Middletown at Harbor Park. According to police both were vandalized overnight Saturday.

The paint has since been cleaned up andboth Middletown and New Haven police departments say they are increasing patrols for the statues.

There’s also a statue of Columbus scheduled to be unveiled in Southington Monday morning. The Knights of Columbus and other civic groups have been planning the statue’s unveiling since 2014 and private donations paid for the statue and installation.

The Columbus statue set to be unveiled in Southington Monday morning.

People in town are upset because the monument is on municipal property. Many residents voiced their opinions at town meetings to take it down, but as of right now its scheduled to be installed. Residents are willing to compromise however they say if the statue goes up they want a plaque to be placed nearby to cite the damage Europeans put on Native Americans after Columbus arrived in the Americas.

That request was not discussed at the town council meeting protesting the statue. The charge to bring down the statue is being led by a group called “Southington Women for Progress.”

The ceremony is expected to take place at 10:30 a.m. at the John Weichsel Municipal Building in Southington.