More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the Queensland government to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary from its public square.

A statement on the Queensland Government’s Facebook page said the decision was taken on Monday because of public safety concerns.

“We are aware of the decision and we will now consider what to do with the statue,” the statement said.

The statue, which has been in place in the public square since 2006, has been at the heart of debate for decades.

“The statue is in the wrong place, in the right place, at the wrong time,” the Queensland Department of Local Government said in a statement.

“It’s a reminder of our past and our current state, of the suffering and tragedy we have suffered, of our people, of all Australians and the impact our community has had on Queenslanders for over a hundred years.”

The statue has attracted widespread criticism, with some arguing that it was erected to celebrate an earlier period in Australian history.

“I don’t want to see that thing,” one supporter of the statue said on Twitter.

“It’s got to go.”

Queensland Governor Mark McGowan, who is also the Liberal Party leader, has said he supports the decision to remove the statue.

“As I’ve said from the beginning, I have no interest in any statue of an earlier Virgin Mary,” he said on the ABC’s Q&A program.

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