Protesters in Baltimore pulled down a Christopher Columbus statue and threw it into the city’s Inner Harbor on Saturday night on Independence Day. Demonstrators used ropes to yank down the Columbus statue that is located near the city’s Little Italy neighborhood as fireworks went off across the city on the Fourth of July.
Protesters mobilized by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police have called for the removal of statues of Columbus, Confederate figures and others. They say the Italian explorer is responsible for the genocide and exploitation of native peoples in the Americas.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the statue was owned by the city and dedicated in 1984 by former Mayor William Donald Schaefer and President Ronald Reagan.
A spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young told The Sun the toppling of the statue is a part of a national and global reexamination over monuments “that may represent different things to different people.”
“We understand the dynamics that are playing out in Baltimore are part of a national narrative,” Lester Davis said. Statues of Columbus have also been toppled or vandalized in cities such as Miami; Richmond, Virginia; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Boston, where one was decapitated.
Over the July 4 weekend, protesters held rallies, marches and sit-ins in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and more than a dozen other U.S. cities and towns.
On Friday, protesters blocked a highway leading up to Mount Rushmore, where President Donald Trump was scheduled to speak. Police used pepper spray and arrested the protesters, who argue the land in which the monument lies on – Black Hills – was seized from the Lakota Sioux by the U.S. government in the 1800s, and that the Trump administration opposes the interests of Native Americans and other minority groups.