NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday weighed in on the renewed debate over whether to take down the statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle.

The debate has been heating up in recent weeks because of the protests against racism around the country.

A petition to take down the statue has already picked up 5,000 signatures.

In 2017, the mayor put together a commission to look into so-called "hate symbols" around the city.

That group recommended the Columbus statue stay, but suggested the city add other nearby monuments putting Columbus' actions in context.

At the time, De Blasio committed to creating a monument recognizing indigenous people.

He ultimately had the final decision on which statues would stay and go following the commission's recommendations.

Speaking to reporters at his daily briefing, the mayor says the original decision should stand.

"The commission did really careful, extensive work...really good, devoted people who care about understanding all of history and care about social justice and came up with a vision for how to address this. We should, I think, just stick to what was achieved by that commission," De Blasio said.

Governor Cuomo said Thursday that while he understands the criticism of Columbus, he thinks the statue should stay because it stands as a symbol of Italian pride.