Pro­test­ers at­tempt to top­ple Colum­bus statue in Grant Park

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY EM­MANUEL CA­MAR­ILLO AND CARLY BEHM

Pro­test­ers sur­rounded the Christo­pher Colum­bus statue in Grant Park Fri­day night, spray­painted it and tried to pull it down.

As Chicago po­lice stood guard, of­fi­cers were re­port­edly hit by fire­works and other items.

Im­ages shared on Twit­ter showed pro­test­ers pulling on ropes at­tached to the statue.

The pro­test­ers had been cleared from the area around the statue by 8:15 p.m.

Amika Ten­daji, an or­ga­nizer for the protest, de­scribed it as a sol­i­dar­ity march for indige­nous and Black peo­ple. Artists tagged the statue with slo­gans in­clud­ing “De­col­o­nize Chicago” and “Black Lives Mat­ter.”

Ten­daji also said three or­ga­niz­ers had been ar­rested while re­triev­ing a cell­phone left be­hind at the statue.

Chicago po­lice had no im­me­di­ate com­ment or de­tails on what had oc­curred at the statue, or the ac­tions taken by of­fi­cers in re­sponse.

Ten­daji de­cried the of­fi­cers’ use of force while pro­tect­ing the statue and said or­ga­niz­ers will con­tinue to demon­strate.

“I think the peo­ple of Chicago and the world have proven that they are over po­lice bru­tal­iz­ing peo­ple,” she said. “They’re over po­lice mur­der, they’re over po­lice ter­ror­ism, so the peo­ple are go­ing to keep fight­ing.”

Stat­ues of Colum­bus, like those of other his­tor­i­cal fig­ures, such as Con­fed­er­ate sol­diers, have come un­der as­sault this year as protests about racism grew in the wake of the death of Ge­orge Floyd, killed by Min­neapo­lis po­lice on Me­mo­rial Day.

Colum­bus’ role in his­tory has be­come con­tro­ver­sial. Long revered by Ital­ian Amer­i­cans, he also is crit­i­cized for his treat­ment of the indige­nous peo­ple he found when he ar­rived on the North Amer­i­can con­ti­nent.

PRO­VIDED PHOTO

Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers sur­round the Christo­pher Colum­bus statue in Grant Park on Fri­day night.

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