A statue depicting Christopher Columbus is seen with its head removed at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park on June 10, 2020 in Boston
A statue depicting Christopher Columbus is seen with its head removed at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park on June 10, 2020 in Boston
PIC: AFP

Mexicans have never had much affection for Cristopher Columbus, and officials were being coy about why his statue was removed from the capital's main boulevard over the weekend before Monday's observances of Columbus Day, which saw protests in several Latin American nations.

Unlike in other cities where monuments to the 15th century explorer have been toppled by protesters, in Mexico City the 19th century bronze statue was gently lifted off its pedestal with a crane and taken away for restoration.

But leaders danced around the question of when, or whether, it would return.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said it was just a coincidence it was removed just before the anniversary of Columbus Day.

In past years, leftist and indigenous groups have spray-painted the statue on October 12, as well as during many other protests, and had appeared likely to do so again this year.

"As far as I know, they took the statue down to restore it. And, yes, it did coincide with today's date, but that should not be misinterpreted." López Obrador said, while acknowledging "it is a date that is very controversial and lends itself to conflicting ideas and political conflicts."

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