BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There has been celebration and condemnation after protesters tore down Baltimore’s Christopher Columbus statue and toss it into the Inner Harbor.
“I don’t give a damn that he is in the harbor right now,” said Jessica Dickerson, with Indigenous Strong.
The videos showed protesters removing it and throwing it into the Inner Harbor.
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On Sunday, celebrations were led by Indigenous Strong.
“That is where he belongs,” Dickerson said.
The group called the statue’s removal a victory.
“Today was a victory for the entire Native American community,” said Kayla Moore.
“We don’t get many wins, right? This is a small but big win, he was a murderer to my people,” Dickerson said.
Gov. Larry Hogan said these actions “should be condemned by everyone.”
He added in a statement:
“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. 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.” Gov. Hogan said.
The statue was located along Eastern Avenue in downtown Baltimore.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said in a statement that he supported Baltimore’s Italian-American community and Baltimore’s indigenous community, but cannot support Columbus.
“I suggested that the last administration remove this statue when they removed the Confederate monuments. I support Baltimore’s Italian-American community and Baltimore’s indigenous community. I cannot, however, support Columbus.” Scott said.
“This is a monument to Italian Americans,” said John Pica Jr., Chairman of Little Italy’s Columbus Day Commemoration.
Some from the Italian American community in Baltimore were filled with anger.
“It’s not right,” said Tony Injeian.
Tony tried to bring the statue back up Sunday, but the rope broke.
This is Tony’s black truck. He says he saw what happened to the statue last night and felt badly for Italian Americans in Baltimore. So he tried to pull the statue back up with his truck and then…the strap broke #Columbus #columbusprotests @wjz pic.twitter.com/7BHdXjaP2j
— Annie Rose Ramos (@AnnieRoseNews) July 5, 2020
“I’m a little disappointed that the rope broke,” Injeian said.
Maryland House of Delegates Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga added her own comments to Gov. Larry Hogan’s on Sunday, criticizing Baltimore leaders for their response to the unrest.
In part, saying, “This is beyond statues, it’s about lawlessness and the approval of it by political and police leadership.”
A spokesman from Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said the mayor has instructed the police commissioner to arrest those involved if they are able to identify anyone, and he does not agree with “the defacing of the statues nor the destruction of property.”
Others are vowing to continue Columbus’ legacy.
“We’re gonna celebrate Columbus Day no matter what happens,” Pica said.
Celebrations continued on Sunday, however, among a community who said they’re fighting for more than just a statue.
“It’s a symbol, and it’s a symbol of acceptance for what happened to Native Americans. It represents just hate,” Moore said.