JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Officials announced details Monday of an agreement over the relocation of a statue on the Jersey City waterfront.
A few dozen protesters repeatedly shouted down Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Poland’s consul general at a news conference as Fulop announced the decision to move the Katyn Memorial statue.
“There is no agreement because he didn’t ask anybody from the community,” resident Jack Koczynski told CBS2’s Marc Liverman. “I’m a Jersey City resident for 15 years. Nobody asked anyone that is a local resident.”
The memorial commemorates the massacre of more than 20,000 Polish soldiers in 1940. The bronze statue depicts a Polish soldier bound, gagged and impaled by a bayonet. It sparked strong emotions in Poland, where Katyn is remembered as one of the worst tragedies to befall the nation in a long tragedy-filled history.
The announcement comes after weeks of heated discussions between the mayor, several city council members and some residents.
“As far as I’m concerned, they’re selling the people of Jersey City out,” said City Council Member Richard Boggiano. “Every veteran in the country and all those overseas. This whole thing has blown up. You don’t touch the statue because some rich developers want the statue moved.”
“This is about preserving history and that’s it,” said resident Laura Marchoff.
The mayor originally announced plans to put the statue in storage while the city worked on a new park project at Exchange Place, where the statue stands. But on Monday, that all changed.
“The goal of this is to give it the proper respect that it was due and at the same time energize the waterfront,” said Fulop.
The statue will now be placed on York Street by the waterfront, about 200 feet away from its original location.
“It also came to a resolution that is something directly parallel to the Freedom Tower, which is something that is appropriate and important to the Consul General to make sure it has the symbolism that reflects its history in the future between the relationship of the U.S. and Poland,” said Fulop.
While some argue against the relocation, not everyone feels the same way.
“The people who actually built this monument, who actually put the blood and sweat into it, agreed to it,” said Polish Consul General Maciej Golubiewski. “They think it’s the best solution, the best compromise.”
The statue is scheduled to be moved around the same time the new park project begins sometime this summer.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)