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Protesters Bring Down Columbus Statue in Byrd Park After March

Columbus Statue under water
SLIDESHOW: The statue was dragged into the nearby pond, after it was torn down, and an American flag was laid on top of it and set on fire. (Coleman Jennings / VPM)

The Christopher Columbus statue at Richmond’s Byrd Park was torn down by protesters Tuesday night. After an American flag was laid on top of it and set on fire, the statue was dragged into nearby Fountain Lake.

This came after protesters marched throughout the city to show support with the Black Lives Matter movement, and to highlight the injustices that indigenous populations have suffered at the hands of police. 

Many people there didn’t want to share their names, but expressed frustration with the figures the city chooses to put on pedestals.

“My family is indigenous. Just think of where we could be right now if it wasn’t for Christopher Columbus,” one participant said earlier in the evening during the demonstration. “People came to this country, they raped, murdered, took land that wasn’t theirs, and then the city is commemorating them for what reason?” 

Throughout the evening demonstrators emphasized solidarity between the plight of Black Americans and the colonization of the indigenous community. 

The city of Richmond has seen demonstrations every night for over a week and a half, following the death of George Floyd after a  Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.. 

Last weekend, a statue of a Confederate general in Monroe Park was also torn down by protesters. This occurred a few days after Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans to remove the monument to Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue.

Coleman Jennings contributed to this reporting. 

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