Protesters pulled down the statue of Columbus outside the Minnesota state Capitol in St. Paul on Wednesday. A group of protesters, some of them from a local Native American advocacy group, gathered in front of the towering bronze structure in the afternoon.
According to Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Jessie Van Berkel, the group told a law enforcement officer on the scene what they planned to do. Around 5 p.m., the protesters tossed a rope around the statue and ripped it from its pedestal, according to Fox 9.
On Wednesday at 12:30 a.m., Boston Police Department officers responded to a call about vandalism to the city’s Columbus statue, Sgt. Detective John Boyle told The Washington Post.
A member of the media went to check on the statue and noticed that it had been beheaded, he said. Fragments and pieces of the structure were found nearby.
Area detectives and the civil rights unit of the department are investigating the crime. Boyle encouraged people to come forward with any information and noted that they can remain anonymous if they contact the crime stoppers hotline.
In Virginia, a few dozen people gathered in Richmond’s Byrd Park to see a bronze statue of Columbus submerged face down on the edge of Fountain Lake.
“I’m not going to say I approve, but I’m not going to say I disapprove, either,” said Ronald Johnson, 33, a call center supervisor who has marched five nights in Richmond over the past 12 days.
Johnson was with at least 100 people at the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — which Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has said he plans to put in storage — when word spread that the Columbus statue had been torn down. A “massive cheer” went up, he said, and he drove over to Byrd Park to see it for himself.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the idea for the statue came from the city’s Italian American community in the early 1920s. It was dedicated in December 1927, the newspaper reported.
But Columbus statues and the holiday have become increasingly controversial in recent years. Many cities have junked Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
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