Videos uploaded to social media Saturday show protesters pulling down Baltimore’s statue of Christopher Columbus and then throwing it into the harbor.
The statue was located along Eastern Avenue in downtown Baltimore.
The videos show protesters using a rope to pull down the Columbus statue. Then they dragged the statue down a flight of stairs and over bricks before throwing it into the Harbor.
Louis Krauss, who shared a video of the toppling, said there were at least 300 people gathered at the scene, CNN reported.
Protesters just took down the Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore’s Little Italy. pic.twitter.com/ViPk5eKOtz
— Louis Krauss (@louiskraussnews) July 5, 2020
Protesters can be heard in the video cheering as the statue was thrown into the water.
Protesters across the U.S. have taken to the streets since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. The demonstrators have called for the removal of statues of Columbus, Confederate figures and others. The reasoning behind their demands is they claim 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.
Lester Davis, a spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, told the Sun the toppled statue is part of a “re-examination taking place nationally and globally around some of these monuments and statues that may represent different things to different people.”
“We understand the dynamics that are playing out in Baltimore are part of a national narrative,” Davis said. “We understand the frustrations. What the city wants to do is serve as a national model, particularly with how we’ve done with protesting. We’ve seen people who have taken to the streets, we have supported them. We are going to continue to support it. That’s a full stop.”
“I support Baltimore’s Italian-American community and Baltimore’s indigenous community. I cannot, however, support Columbus,” said Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott. In a statement issued on Saturday night, he said he suggested the statue be removed in 2017.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan condemned the statue’s removal in a series of tweets on Sunday morning, calling it “the antithesis of democracy.”
“While we welcome peaceful protests and constructive dialogue on whether and how to put certain monuments in context or move them to museums through a legal process, lawlessness, vandalism, and destruction of public property is completely unacceptable,” he wrote.
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.
U.S. President Donald Trump has denounced the removal of monuments and signed an executive order to create a garden of “American Heroes” in response to fallen statues.