The Christopher Columbus statue in downtown Richmond, Virginia, was torn down by protesters Tuesday night as Black Lives Matter protests gathered momentum in the state.
This happened after a peaceful demonstration in front of the statue to honor the indigenous people who were displaced when Columbus discovered America. Shortly after this, the statue was ripped off from its foundation and spray-painted. The statue was also set afire a while later and eventually thrown into a lake.
In the heat of the chaos, the agitators also attacked a photographer from NBC 12. The protesters demanded the photographer to leave the scene, NBC 12 reported. A small group of people waved boards in the photographer's face while they grabbed him and attacked his camera. However, he could return to work after this incident to tell the story.
Witnesses said that protesters used ropes to pull the Columbus statue down. This comes a few days after the Confederate statue of General Williams Carter Wickham was pulled down in Monroe Park by the same method, reported Wric.
Thrown Into Lake
The protesters dragged the sculpture to a nearby Landing at Fountain Lake after it fell to the ground. 8News spoke to a protester who admitted that he aided in the knocking down of the statue. He said that the action was not pre-planned. He explained that the protesters were influenced over time when chants of "tear it down" came from the crowd.
Earlier that evening, demonstrators were reportedly seen marching down Arthur Ashe Boulevard en route to Byrd Park. An 8News crew said that there was no police presence at 11 pm that day, and the toppling of Columbus statue drew large crowds to Byrd Park.
City Parks and Recreation also confirmed that the statue was owned by the city of Richmond. A similar incident was reported from Boston, where the Columbus statue was spray-painted with the words "Black Lives Matter." On Sunday, the statue of 17th century English merchant Edward Colston was thrown into the river in England's Bristol.