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U.S. Protests Focus On “True Enemy”: Any Reminder Of Its Racist Past

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U.S. Protests Focus On "True Enemy": Any Reminder Of Its Racist Past

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On June 10th and 11th, protesters in the US appear to have singled out their true enemy: confederate statues, as well as those of Christopher Columbus.

Spurred by the Black Lives Matter protests, municipal authorities throughout the United States have ordered century-old statues commemorating defenders of slavery to be removed. Most of these orders were needless, since protesters took things into their own hands.

In Virginia’s capital, Richmond, protesters toppled the statue of Jefferson Davies, the first and only Confederacy president.

The bronze statue had been all but marked for removal by city leaders in a matter of weeks, but demonstrators didn’t want to wait, tying ropes around its legs and toppling it onto the pavement.

The Davis monument was a few blocks away from a massive equestrian statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that the state of Virginia is trying to take down.

In the week ending on June 7th, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam ordered its removal, but a judge blocked such action for at least 10 days.

“The men who served under Robert E. Lee were my great-grandfathers or their brothers and their cousins. So it is my family,” he said. “What if a crowd of any other group went and found the symbols of someone they didn’t like and decided to tear them down? Everybody would be appalled. But I don’t know why it’s acceptable, why people who are descended from the Confederate Army and the Confederate soldiers, it’s accepted in this country that you can do anything to us you want.”

On June 10th, protesters in Portsmouth, Virginia, beheaded and then pulled down four statues that were part of a Confederate monument as a brass band played in the streets and demonstrators danced.

Richmond was the city where the statue of Christopher Columbus was pulled down, spray painted, set on fire and thrown into a lake on June 9th.

In Boston, a statue of Columbus was found beheaded on June 10th.

U.S. Protests Focus On "True Enemy": Any Reminder Of Its Racist Past

Click to see full-size image

And in St. Paul, Minn., indigenous activists threw a rope around a 10-foot bronze statue of Columbus on the grounds of the state capitol and dragged it off its pedestal. Authorities did not intervene as the statue came tumbling down, and activists danced in a circle around it, singing native songs.

“For healing to happen, this needed to happen,” Mike Forcia, chairman of the Twin Cities American Indian Movement and a member of the Bad River Band of Ojibwe said. “It was here for far too long. It’s a slap in the face to all Native people and all people of color.”

Supporters of Confederate monuments and other statues that are being defaced have argued that they are important reminders of history, while opponents contend they glorify those who led a rebellion to preserve slavery.

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