A statue of King Louis XVI was being removed from its namesake city in Kentucky on Thursday over “public safety concerns” after it was repeatedly vandalized during protests in recent months, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced.
Crews began taking down the 9-ton marble figure from Jefferson Square Park in the city’s downtown at about 7 a.m., Fischer said in a written statement. The statue was being moved to a city storage facility where it will undergo a conservation assessment.
“Given the statue’s damaged condition, officials are concerned about further destruction, causing potential injury to people in the area,” the mayor said.
The statue has been tagged with spray-paint and had one of its hands broken off in May amid ongoing protests over the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who died when police conducted a no-knock warrant in March.
Other damage to the statue has included surface abrasion from cleaning and breakage on the figure’s arms and feet. Officials said workers were unable to restore the statue’s condition on site.
A decision on the statue’s future will be made after it is assessed, officials said.
Louisville was named in honor of King Louis XVI because he supported the colonists during the American Revolution. The statue was given to the city by officials in Montpellier, France, in 1967.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.