Columbus and Confederate Statues Toppled by Protesters
Statues of Christopher Columbus and Confederate leaders have been torn down in several states, as pressure grows on authorities to remove monuments connected to slavery and colonialism.
In Richmond, Virginia, statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled on June 10.
Statues of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in Boston, Miami and Virginia have been vandalized.
The movement has been sparked by the death in police custody of African American George Floyd.
George Floy’s death in Minneapolis has led to protests in the US and internationally against police brutality and racial inequality.
Memorials to the Confederacy, a group of southern states that fought to keep black people as slaves in the American Civil War of 1861-1865, have been among those targeted.
A number of Confederate statues on Monument Avenue in Richmond have been marked with graffiti during the protests.
Richmond also saw a statue of Columbus pulled down, set alight and thrown into a lake earlier this week.
A 10ft tall bronze statue of Columbus was toppled in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on June 10.
The Columbus statue in Boston, which stands on a plinth at the heart of town, was beheaded.
Many people in the US celebrate the memory of Columbus, who in school textbooks is credited with discovering “the New World”, the Americas, in the 15th Century.
However, Native American activists have long objected to honoring Columbus, saying that his expeditions to the Americas led to the colonization and genocide of their ancestors.
The death of George Floyd, whose neck was kneeled on by a police officer for nearly nine minutes, has spurred global protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many cities and organizations have taken steps to remove Confederate symbols, which have long stirred controversy because of their association with racism.
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Last week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee would be removed from Richmond.
However, a judge has since granted a temporary injunction stopping the removal.
Stock-car racing organizers Nascar announced on June 10 it was banning Confederate flags, frequently seen at races.
President Trump meanwhile rejected calls to rename military bases named after Confederate generals, saying they remain part of America’s heritage.
The president tweeted: “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”
On June, President Trump renewed threats to take federal action against local protesters occupying public spaces.
In a pointed exchange on Twitter, the president demanded that the mayor of Seattle “take back your city” from protesters, whom he called anarchists and domestic terrorists.