Christopher Columbus statue toppled in Baltimore amid Black Lives Matter protests

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Protesters in Baltimore pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus and threw it into the city’s Inner Harbour. They used ropes to topple the statue on 4 July near the Little Italy neighbourhood, news outlets reported.

Protesters mobilised by the Black Lives Matter movement and the police killing of George Floyd have called for the removal of statues of Columbus, Confederate figures and others. They say the Italian explorer is responsible for the genocide and exploitation of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the city owned the statue. It was dedicated in 1984 by former mayor William Donald Schaefer and president Ronald Reagan.

A national and global reexamination over monuments

Lester Davis, spokesperson for Baltimore mayor Bernard C. ‘Jack’ Young, told the Sun the toppling of the statue is a part of a national and global reexamination over monuments “that may represent different things to different people”. And he went on to say:

We understand the dynamics that are playing out in Baltimore are part of a national narrative.

Protesters have toppled or vandalised statues of Columbus in cities such as Miami, Florida; Richmond, Virginia; St Paul, Minnesota; and Boston, Massachusetts, where one was decapitated.

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