Police increase presence around Frank Rizzo statue in Center City

- As the debate grows over a monument in Center City, Philadelphia, so does the police presence.

On Thursday morning, a couple dozen of police officers stood along barricades at the Frank Rizzo statue — a much different scene from Wednesday evening — only a few hours after a ‘Philly is Charlottesville’ rally gathered around the statue chanting ‘tear it down.’

Hundreds of people joined in the march to rally against hate. Many used this as an opportunity to continue the fight to remove the Frank Rizzo statue, which was egged two nights ago. People who want it removed argue that Rizzo was a racist and shouldn't stand boldly as a nine foot bronze statue prominently placed on public property across from City Hall.

Also coming out of the woodwork are people who want the monument of the former Philly mayor to stay put. A petition on Change.org has reached more than 16,000 signatures in a little over a day.

Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky wrote an editorial on the controversy, saying he knew Rizzo first hand. He didn't always agree with his bold, blunt ways, but argues that he had many black and anti-drug/anti-gang supporters. While he was mayor, among his many projects was the Philadelphia African American Museum. In 1975, he pushed for legislation to protect the gay community.

Bykofsky argues that many people pushing for the statue’s removal are those who were not around for Rizzo’s reign in office.

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