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US San Francisco board votes to keep controversial statue

07:00  20 april  2018
07:00  20 april  2018 Source:   ap.org

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco authorities reversed a decision to remove a 19th century statue near City Hall that some say is degrading to Native Americans. San Francisco 's Board of Appeals late Wednesday unanimously voted to overturn the city's Arts Commission earlier decision to

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SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco authorities reversed a decision to remove a 19th century statue near City Hall that some say is degrading to Native Americans.

San Francisco's Board of Appeals late Wednesday unanimously voted to overturn the city's Arts Commission earlier decision to remove the "Early Days" sculpture, which depicts a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and Catholic missionary. It is part of the Pioneer Monument cluster that depicts the founding of California.

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The San Francisco Board of Appeals voted unanimously Wednesday night for the removal of the “Early Days” statue . It depicts a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a The board had voted in April voted to overturn a decision by the city’s Arts Commission to remove the sculpture.

San Francisco demonstrators have torn down a statue of Francis Scott Key — the writer of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and a slave-owner. Shortly after protesters ripped down the San Fransisco monuments, protesters in Washington, D.C., toppled and torched the lone Confederate statue in the

The board agreed to keep it standing after lawyer Steve Schmid appealed the Arts Commission decision to place the statue in storage. Schmid argued that the sculpture is an art piece regardless of one's opinion of the sculpture. He said the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment mandates its protection.

"Yes, it's despicable. Yes, it's horrible," said appeals board member Rick Swig, who voted with the other four members to keep the statue on public display. "But taking it away suppresses thought."

The Arts Commission started the removal process in October after demonstrators clashed over the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer.

"When I go by that statue, I just see genocide," San Francisco resident Martin Huerta told the board.

On Thursday, the Arts Commission said it would ask the appeals board to reconsider its decision and explore other legal options.

"As a city, we had an opportunity to correct a gross misrepresentation of history and to honor the wishes of the first people of this land who have advocated for the sculpture's removal for decades," said commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson.

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