The group of police guarding the statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park, Chicago, was attacked with bricks, fireworks and other objects thrown by demonstrators either deliberately or in trying to knock down the statue.
According to FoxNews, the demonstration began Friday afternoon as part of the Black Lives Matter protests, in alleged claims of racial discrimination following the death of George Floyd. According to witnesses, as the hours passed the movement became increasingly violent. Then around 9:30 p.m., a hundred people headed towards Grant Park with the aim of destroying the historic statue of Christopher Columbus.
The police guarding the statue and trying to keep the violent group away from the site was targeted by fireworks and objects thrown by the protesters. The police personnel did not have any kind of shield or protective helmet, which caused 18 police officers to be injured.
Chicago is going krazy in Grant Park! pic.twitter.com/RILqcQemUK
— Suburban Girl In Englewood 🇺🇸🏳️🌈ADOS Chicago (@ButteryBrownz) July 18, 2020
— Madeleine #CopsOutCPS (@madeleinedupre) July 18, 2020
One of the protesters posted a video on her Twitter account where you can see protesters attacking the police while trying to destroy the statue. In her post, she wrote: “Columbus was a murderer!”
Amika Tendaji, one of the organizers of the protest denounced the use of force by the officers in protecting the statue. Protesters labeled the statue with slogans including “Decolonize Chicago” and “Black Lives Matter,” reported local media FOX 32 CHICAGO.
It’s not the first time this month that cities in the United States have sought to vandalize a Christopher Columbus memorial as a form of protest. On July 4, in Baltimore City, while fireworks for the Independence Day celebrations were flashing, a statue of Christopher Columbus near Little Italy was knocked down and thrown into the city’s inner harbor. This act of vandalism took place in the middle of a demonstration in line with the protests demanding justice for George Floyd.
According to a flyer, the protest “demanded the reallocation of funds from the police department to social services, a reassessment of the public education system, reparation for Black people, housing for the homeless, and the removal of all statues honoring white supremacists, slave owners, genocide perpetrators, and settlers.
The masked protesters used a chain to drag the carved marble statue that had been dedicated on October 8, 1984, by former Mayor William Donald Schaefer and President Ronald Reagan.
President Trump recently signed an executive order to protect monuments and statues across the country from vandalism by “anarchists and left-wing extremists.”
In announcing the measure, President Trump assured via Twitter that the law “combats recent criminal violence,” adding: “Long prison sentences for these illegal acts against our Great Country!
I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020