There is a 7-ton statue of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle. It’s 16-feet tall, made of bronze and has resided in the city’s free-spirited Fremont neighborhood since 1995. Tourists flock to see it.

This week, protesters did too.

In a twist on the recent calls to remove Confederate monuments, Seattle’s Lenin statue has attracted renewed scrutiny this week after an impromptu protest by activists supporting President Trump, who has endured blistering criticism for insisting “both sides” – that is, the white nationalists who staged their rally in Charlottesville and the demonstrators who opposed them – share equal blame for the mayhem that was caused.

The violence, and Trump’s argumentative response, has fomented division within communities across the country.

On Thursday, Mayor Ed Murray joined critics in seeking the removal of a monument that has long been a subject of curiosity and controversy. Murray, a Democrat, also has taken aim at a Confederate memorial in the city’s Lake View Cemetery. Both are privately owned.

“We should never forget our history,” he wrote in a prepared statement, “but we also should not idolize figures who have committed violent atrocities and sought to divide us based on who we are or where we came from.”

Lenin led Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 before founding the country’s Communist Party. Countless suffered and died during the civil war that ensued, a fact highlighted by those who think the statue should come down.

As one observer mused on Twitter, “He only killed a few million people. Why isn’t the left tearing down his statue?”

The sculpture’s path to Seattle has little to do with Lenin’s communist ideology, according to local accounts. It was created in Slovakia by artist Emil Venkov between 1978 and 1988, when it was installed in the city of Poprad, not far from the Polish border. A year later, as the Soviet Union broke apart, the statue was taken down.

It was discovered in a junkyard by Lewis Carpenter, an American visiting from Washington state, who was said to be so enamored with its artistry that he leveraged his mortgage to finance the purchase and ship it home to Issaquah, 20 miles east of the Seattle. It was moved to Fremont after Carpenter’s death in 1994. Carpenter’s family still owns the statue and, according to the Seattle Times, has been hoping to sell it for many years. The asking price is $250,000.

Ultimately, because both of the controversial Seattle memorials reside on private property, both would need to be removed by their owners, voluntarily. So Murray, Seattle’s mayor, has few options other than voicing his opinion.