Columbus statue toppled by race protesters in US city of Baltimore

WION Web Team Washington, DC, United States of America Jul 05, 2020, 03.30 PM(IST)

Columbus statue Photograph:( AFP )

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Statues of figures connected to colonialism and slavery have been ripped from their plinths in the United States and around the world since Black Lives Matter protests were sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May.

Protesters in the US city of Baltimore pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus -- the Italian navigator who reached the Americas in 1492 -- on Saturday. This is the latest monument to be toppled in anti-racism demonstrations.

Statues of figures connected to colonialism and slavery have been ripped from their plinths in the United States and around the world since Black Lives Matter protests were sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May.

Columbus is considered by many to have spurred years of genocide against indigenous groups in the Americas. He is regularly denounced in a similar way to Civil War generals of the pro-slavery South.

Footage published by the Baltimore Sun showed protesters using ropes to pull down the statue of Columbus near the city's Little Italy district and rolling it into the Inner Harbour on the night of July 4. 

US President Donald Trump earlier mentioned the sailor in his speech to mark the July 4 holiday, when Americans typically celebrate their 1776 declaration of independence from Britain.

"Together we will fight for the American dream, and we will defend, protect, and preserve American way of life which began in 1492 when Columbus discovered America," he said in an address in which he railed against protesters demanding racial justice.

The president last month signed an executive order pledging to enforce prosecution for protesters who vandalise public memorials, promising "long prison terms" for "lawless acts against our Great Country!"

A statue of Columbus was taken down in San Francisco last month, and another was removed from California's state capital Sacramento.

Also read | Statue of Christopher Columbus in US toppled, thrown in lake by anti-racism protestors