Maryland governor: 'Baltimore City leaders need to regain control of their own streets'

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called on Baltimore officials to “regain control of their own streets” after protesters toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus in the city over the weekend.

“While we welcome peaceful protests and constructive dialogue on whether and how to put certain monuments in context or move them to museums or storage through a legal process, lawlessness, vandalism and destruction of public property are completely unacceptable,” Hogan said in a statement Sunday.

“That is the antithesis of democracy and should be condemned by everyone, regardless of their politics. Baltimore City leaders need to regain control of their own streets and immediately start making them safer,” Hogan added.

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Protesters tore down the statue of the explorer near Baltimore's Little Italy neighborhood, pushing it into the city’s Inner Harbor.

Since protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis began in late May, protesters have frequently targeted statues honoring Confederate leaders and other figures associated with racism, including former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, former president Jackson and, in Belgium, former King Leopold II.

Statues of Columbus have frequently been targeted due to accounts in his journals of atrocities against indigenous people on the island of Hispaniola. A Columbus statue in Boston was decapitated, while protesters in Richmond, Va., pushed another in the city’s Byrd Park into a nearby lake.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE has made damage or vandalism of statues central to his reelection message, invoking them in both a Friday speech at Mount Rushmore and a Fourth of July address Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Hogan has previously criticized Trump’s response to civil unrest during the Floyd protests, saying in May that the president threatening White House protesters with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” was “not helpful” and “not lowering the temperature.”