Protesters attempt to topple Columbus statue in Grant Park
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.
Hundreds of protesters surround the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park on Friday night.