7 arrested in vandalism of Miami's Columbus statue

7 arrested in vandalism of Miami's Columbus statue
© Miami Police Department

Seven protesters were arrested in Miami Wednesday after statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce De Leon were vandalized, police said. 

Police said a hammer and sickle “among other things” were spray-painted on the statues outside of Bayside Market.

George Floyd’s name, “BLM,” for Black Lives Matter, and images of fists were also spray-painted on the Columbus statue, according to pictures of the statue shared by police. 

Police said several protesters assaulted officers and damaged a police vehicle while officers initiated the arrest. Officers arrested a total of seven “violent protesters,” police said. 

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Police said “peaceful protesters” were not arrested.

“In the City of Miami, we support peaceful protests but there will be zero tolerance for those who hide behind the peaceful protesters to incite riots, damage property, and hurt members of the public or our officers,” Chief of Police Jorge Colina police said in a statement. 

On Wednesday a group of protesters in Minnesota similarly tore down a statue of Columbus on state Capitol grounds. 

Statues of Columbus, who is known for his role in enslaving indigenous people in the Caribbean, have been targeted by protesters demonstrating nationwide against racial inequality and police brutality. The protests were sparked by Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody at the end of May. 

Protesters have also targeted statues commemorating Confederate generals and figures. A statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis was topped by protesters in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday night. 

Protests have even stretched beyond the U.S., and demonstrators in the United Kingdom pulled down a statue of British slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol on Sunday.