Christopher Columbus statues are being beheaded and torn down during Black Lives Matter protests

The head of a statue of Christopher Columbus was pulled off overnight in Boston.JPG REUTERS/Brian Snyder
  • A Christopher Columbus statue in Boston’s North End was found beheaded on Wednesday morning.
  • In Richmond, Virginia, protestors pulled a Columbus statue down on Tuesday night, and dragged it into a nearby lake.
  • Boston’s mayor said the Columbus statue in his city will be put in storage until officials decide if it should go back up.
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Christopher Columbus statues in Boston and Richmond, Virginia, were vandalised on Tuesday night during Black Lives Matter protests that erupted following the death of George Floyd.

The Columbus statue in Boston’s North End was found beheaded on Wednesday morning, with its head sitting on the ground, next to its base.

In Richmond, protesters pulled down a Columbus statue in Byrd Park and dragged it into the nearby Fountain Lake.

Columbus, once largely (and wrongly) celebrated as the man who discovered the New World, is now better known for destroying and enslaving indigenous people. He the latest in a long list of racist and genocidal historical figures, including Confederate Army leaders, to come back into the spotlight as activists call for cities to take down memorials.

Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, told CBS Boston that the Columbus statue will go into storage as officials evaluate the damage and decide the next steps. The statue was also beheaded in 2006. In 2015, it was covered with red paint and someone sprayed “Black Lives Matter” on its base.

“This particular statue has been subject to repeated vandalism here in Boston, and given the conversations that we’re certainly having right now in our city of Boston and throughout the country, we’re also going to take time to assess the historic meaning of this action,” Walsh told CBS Boston.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement on Twitter that he would discuss with community members about what happened next to the Columbus statue.

“The atrocities inflicted upon indigenous people by Christopher Columbus are unconscionable. That’s why the city began observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, not Columbus Day, in 2019. But the decision & action to remove a monument should be made in collaboration w/ the community,” he said. “Working with Richmond’s History and Culture Commission, we are establishing a process by which Richmonders can advocate for change to the figures we place on public pedestals across our city in a legal and peaceful way.”