Man is critically injured after statue falls on his head

Man is critically injured after Confederate soldiers’ monument is torn down and falls on his HEAD in Virginia – as protestors also topple statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis

  • A protester has reportedly been left critically injured after a Confederate statue crashed down onto his head Wednesday
  •  The man, believed to be in his thirties, had been part of a group of protesters attempting to topple the statue yesterday evening
  • The group had attached ropes around the base of the statue and had been pulling away at it for ‘some time’, when the monument gave way 
  • The man, who has not yet been identified, had been standing directly in front of the statue as it fell, striking him in the head, a witness said 
  • Overnight in Boston on North End waterfront another Columbus was beheaded
  • Similar monuments have fallen around the world amid anti-racism protests 

A protester has been left critically injured after a Confederate statue that was being torn down during a demonstration Portsmouth, Virginia came crashing down on his head Wednesday night.

The man, believed to be in his thirties, had been part of a group of protesters attempting to topple the statue yesterday evening, WAVY News reported.

According to one witness, the group had attached ropes around the base of the statue and had been pulling away at it for ‘some time’, when the monument eventually gave way and fell forwards.

The man, who has not yet been identified, had been standing directly in front of the statue as it fell, striking him in the head, a witness said.

‘We could see that his skull was actually showing, he was convulsing on the ground – and he lost a great amount of blood,’ the president of Black Lives Matter 757 told the station. ‘We ask everybody to pray for that man right now.’

The Confederate military member statue was one of four beheaded before being pulled down at the Portsmouth Confederate Monument as police watched on Wednesday

The man, believed to be in his thirties, had been part of a group of protesters attempting to topple the statueyesterday evening

The Portsmouth Police Department urged all citizens to avoid the area as they attempted to disperse demonstrators and investigate ‘an incident that resulted in a citizen getting injured’, the department said in a tweet.

Demonstrators stopped to commemorate the man with a moment of silence before acquiescing to police demands to leave the area.

The man was taken to the hospital, though his condition is not known at this time.

In total, four statues were beheaded and pulled down at the Portsmouth Confederate Monument as police watched on Wednesday.

Efforts to tear the first of the statues down began around 8:20 pm, but the rope they were using snapped.

The crowd was frustrated by the Portsmouth City Council’s decision to put off moving the monument. They switched to throwing bricks from the post that held the plaque they had pulled down as they initially worked to bring down the statue.

The actions come amid national protests over the death of George Floyd who died on Memorial Day in Minneapolis after white officer Derek Chauvin kneeled down on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, ignoring his cries of ‘I can’t breathe’.

Also Wednesday, 80 miles away, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was torn down along Richmond‘s famed Monument Avenue.

The statue in the former capital of the Confederacy was toppled shortly before 11 p.m. and was on the ground in the middle of an intersection, news outlets reported.

A large crowd gathered around and sang as crews removed the statue from the road and drove away.

The Davis statue came as the third to be brought down by protesters in the area after the Christopher Columbus statue in Byrd Park and a Confederate general statue in Monroe Park were also torn down. 

The statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond’s Bryd Park was torn down by protesters, set on fire and then submerged into a lake on Tuesday.

The sculpture was brought down less than two hours after protesters in the state’s capital gathered and chanted for the statue to go.

The empty pedestal was spray-painted and covered with a sign saying ‘Columbus Represents Genocide’ after the statue was taken down.

Columbus’s arrival in the Americas in 1492 unleashed centuries of European colonisation, making him a symbol of conquest and violence to Native Americans.    

Protesters gathered around  in city’s Byrd Park as drums were played before an American flag was burnt on the  Christopher Columbus statue 

A statue of Christopher Columbus was also decapitated Wednesday at the Christopher Columbus Park in Boston, Massachusetts

There was no police presence in the park, but a police helicopter was seen circling the area after the city-owned figure was torn down, local media said.

Activist Chelsea Higgs-Wise was among the protesters who spoke to a crowd in Byrd Park about the struggles of indigenous people and African-Americans.  

‘We have to start where it all began,’ Higgs-Wise said during her speech. ‘We have to start with the people who stood first on this land.’

Vanessa Bolin of the Richmond Indigenous Society told the crowd she had come to ‘stand in solidarity’ with those protesting against police brutality.  

Another speaker, Joseph Rogers, declared the area ‘Powhatan land,’ saying that racism has impacted both African-Americans and Native Americans.

The statue of Christopher Columbus is seen on the ground after it was pulled down by protesters,Richmond, Virginia, U.S., June 9, 2020

Toppled: A Christopher Columbus statue was torn down and thrown in a lake in Richmond last night in the latest protest to tear down a symbol of racial oppression

The empty plinth had a poster placed on it saying: ‘Columbus Represents Genocide’ 

Another poster left next to the toppled statue imagined a gravestone for racism with the message: ‘You will not be missed’ 

The statue was dedicated in Richmond in December 1927, becoming the first Columbus statue in the South, reports said. 

It comes several days after a statue of Confederate general Williams Carter Wickham was pulled from its pedestal in another Richmond park, Monroe Park. 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam last week ordered the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which is four blocks away from where the Davis statue stood. 

‘In Virginia, we no longer preach a false version of history. One that pretends the Civil War was about state rights and not the evils of slavery. No one believes that any longer,’ Northam said. 

‘And in 2020, we can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of enslaved people.’

A judge on Monday issued an injunction preventing officials from removing the monuments for the next 10 days. 

Pictured left: the Columbus statue in a file photo; right: a portrait of Columbus, who protesters say was responsible for unleashing genocide in the Americas 

Also Wednesday, protesters in Portsmouth, Virginia, covered a Confederate monument in the city with trash bags and sheets, several hours after the city’s council members had a meeting to figure out ways to relocate it.

A white sheet that read ‘BLM’ covered the fence in front of the monument hours after the Portsmouth city council met Tuesday to discuss who owns the figure, WVEC-TV reported. The question about who owns the monument has been the main roadblock in the city’s years-long quest to remove it.

During the council’s meeting Tuesday, Mayor John Rowe asked the city attorney if Portsmouth has the right to move the 127-year-old memorial. In 2018, a judge denied the city´s claim to own the monument because no one else had tried to claim it.  

Katelyn Burns joked that people could still remember Christopher Columbus without the statue as a whole district is named after him

While another Twitter user by the name of Ghosting Pie said he believed erasing the past would cause history to repeat itself 

The local chapter of the NAACP and protesters have called for the 54-foot monument to be taken down, but some council members oppose removing the statue without a city wide vote, WAVY reported.

‘Removing history is something I associate with bad government, communist government, fascist government,’ Councilman Bill Moody said during the meeting. He said the monuments and museums exist ‘to remind us to never let this happen again.’

A new law in Virginia that allows cities to move or alter Confederate monuments they own goes into effect July 1.  

On Saturday a century-old statue commemorating women in the Confederacy was defaced in a Jacksonville park, Florida.

The Florida Times-Union reported  that the ‘Women of the Southland’ statue in Jacksonville was splattered with red paint and tagged with the letters BLM, an abbreviation for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Confederate monument is covered in shoots and bags in Downtown Portsmouth, Virginia, early Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The statue is among others in the city’s Confederate Park, a place activists have been pushing for removal of the monuments. The park and the women’s statute have been there since 1915. It’s not clear who defaced the statue.

Other statues to have been defaced in the last week include Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. 

A statue of former mayor of Philadelphia and police commissioner Frank Rizzo was also burned at the base on Saturday, causing authorities to remove the statue today.

Rizzo was accused of discriminating against minorities during his term as mayor, 1972 to 1980. 

Demonstrators at Linn Park in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday attempted to remove a statue of Confederate sailor Charles Linn but were unsuccessful.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin told protesters he would ‘finish the job for them’, reports CNN. 

In Nashville, Tennessee a statue of Edward Carnack, a former US senator and newspaper owner who was known for attacking civil rights advocates was pulled down on Sunday and has since been removed.

The statues are the latest to be targeted amid worldwide anti-racism protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis two weeks ago.

Protesters cheered as they forced the Edward Colston monument into the water at Bristol Harbor, UK

Along with monuments in the US, statues of slave traders and colonialists have come down in Britain and Belgium in recent days as the movement spreads worldwide. 

An almost identical incident to the toppling in Byrd Park, Richmond, also took place in Bristol, UK, over the weekend as protesters pulled down a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and threw it into the city’s harbor.

Native American groups have long asked for Columbus Day to be changed to Indigenous Peoples Day, arguing that Columbus unleashed centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas. 

Columbus Day marks the Italian explorer’s arrival in the New World in 1492 but campaigners say it should commemorate the victims of European colonisation rather than the conquerors. 

While Europe has long thought of Columbus as the ‘discoverer’ of America, Native Americans regard his arrival as an invasion. 

Indigenous people were robbed of most of their land and 500 years later they are still among the poorest Americans. 

Who was Christopher Columbus and why have people targeted his statue? 

Christopher Columbus, (1451 – 1506)

Christopher Columbus, (1451 – 1506) born in the Republic of Genoa (now Italy), was a 15th century navigator who began European incursions into the Americas. Native American activists believe the navigator was responsible for centuries of indigenous genocide.       

Like Aristotle and others, Columbus believed that the world was round. He theorized that the distance between Spain’s Canary Islands and Japan was only around 2,300 miles (3,701 kilometers) and felt he could sail west to reach Asia for a new sought-out route for spices. It was really about 12,000 miles (19,321 kilometers). Columbus based his incorrect calculations on mystical texts, and ended up landing in the present-day Caribbean on Oct. 12, 1492. 

Columbus convinced Spain’s Queen Isabella to fund his voyage by promising that the riches he’d collect would be used to finance a crusade to ‘reclaim’ Jerusalem for Christians. Instead, he found new foods, animals and indigenous people who, he wrote, were childlike and could be easily turned into slaves.

As indigenous populations revolted against brutal Spanish treatment, Columbus ordered a ruthless crackdown that included having dismembered bodies being paraded in public. Eventually, Columbus was arrested on mismanagement and brutality charges and died soon after.

Around 60 years after Columbus’ arrival, the Taino indigenous population of the Caribbean had been reduced from an estimated 250,000 people to a few hundred because of slavery and death from new diseases. 

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