CHICAGO — A monument gifted to Chicago by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in the name of aviator Italo Balbo has become the target of protesters who want it removed.

Protesters on Wednesday gathered around an ancient Roman column that sits atop a stone base. It reads in part: “Fascist Italy with the sponsorship of Benito Mussolini presents to Chicago” commemorating the flight by Balbo “in the 11th year of the Fascist Era.”

Balbo in 1933 led an armada of Italian planes from Rome to Chicago for the Century of Progress World’s Fair.

Protest leader John Beacham not only wants the monument’s removal, but also the renaming of Balbo Drive after Ida B. Wells, a black suffragette and opponent of lynching.

Officials representing Italian-American associations in Chicago are against removal of the monument.

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