A crowd of protesters gathered in front of the statue of President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the monument after NYC officials backed its removal.
The incident occurred at the Museum of Natural History in New York where the statue of Teddy Roosevelt has been standing for 80 years.
Following the museum’s decision to remove the monument and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approval, protesters gathered around it in protest.
While critics suggested the statue is racist due to Roosevelt, who is portrayed on a horse, being flanked by an African on one side and a Native American on the other, the protesters expressed they do not wish seeing history get torn down.
“This statue is of a proud American. Was he perfect? No. No one was perfect… he did a lot for this country,” New York Young Republicans Club’s president, Gavin Wax, said in an interview with New York Post.
“We’re here today because we’ve bettered ourselves as a society and we continue to better ourselves as a society. But we’ll never be able to do that anymore if we continue to tear down our history and forget our past — and we’ll be doomed to repeat it.”
As the protesters were confined to a small area enclosed by barriers, counter-demonstrators arrived to advocate the removal of the statue that according to them symbolizes “glorified colonialism.”
According to the museum officials, the decision to have the statue removed followed the unjust death of George Floyd and nation-wide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
“We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism. Simply put, the time has come to move it,” the president of the museum, Ellen V. Futter, previously expressed.
Meanwhile, the NYC mayor expressed his support for the removal of the “problematic” statue and said it was “the right time” to do so.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” the statement from the mayor read.
“The City supports the Museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
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