Tensions erupt in downtown Chicago as police clash with crowd attempting to topple Columbus statue
Tensions boiled over between protesters and law enforcement in Chicago on Friday evening after demonstrators vandalized and tried to topple a statue of Christopher Columbus.
Video surfaced of protesters spray painting the statue and calling Columbus a “murderer” before physical clashes with police began.
— Madeleine #CopsOutCPS (@madeleinedupre) July 18, 2020
Demonstrators were seen throwing objects and firing fireworks at officers surrounding the statue before police responded with tear gas and other deterrent measures.
Protesters launch fireworks and other items at Chicago police officers guarding Columbus statue in Grant Park pic.twitter.com/WCga8c47Ty
— WGN TV News (@WGNNews) July 18, 2020
The rally comes as protesters across the nation call for the dismantling of statues and monuments commemorating the country’s racist past. While most statues that have been targeted are of Confederate figures, some demonstrators have called for monuments of Columbus and slave-owning presidents like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to be removed, as well.
The national reckoning over race was sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a then-Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during a May 25 arrest.