Trying to topple a Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park, Chicago, protesters clashed with police, who responded violently with sticks after officers threw firecrackers and cans.
CHICAGO – Protesters trying to topple a Christopher Columbus statue in the city of Grant Park, Chicago, clashed with police, who used sticks to beat people up and made at least a dozen arrests after they were told.
The clash was revealed on Friday evening after at least 1,000 people tried to swallow the statue in an unsuccessful attempt to topple it after a rally in support of blacks and indigenous people.
Police said 18 officers were injured and at least 12 people were arrested during the skirmish. Four protesters were also hurt during the confrontation, prompting local elected officials and activists to condemn the officers’ tactics.
“We unequivocally condemn the decision of Mayor Lori Lightfoot to beat, arrest and terrorize the protesters and journalists gathered at Grant Park,” a group of elected officials said in a statement released Friday. Send. “
The statement was signed by several members of the City Council, including Aldvarman Zeenat Taylor and Alderwoman Rosana Rodríguez Sánchez, and two members of the Legislature – state Rep. Delia Ramirez and state Sen. – Robert Peters.
Lightfoot said on Saturday that she would “always fight for the rights of individuals to protest peacefully on any issue” but added that “a portion of the protesters turned violent during Friday’s protest”.
Officials said, “Many people came with frozen water bottles, rocks, bottles, cans and other gear. Those in the crowd also threw firecrackers and other incendiary devices at the police, which in many cases resulted in injuries.” Violent acts are unacceptable and put everyone at risk, ”she said in a statement.
The mayor said that reports of excessive force by officers during the reaction to the protests are “also unacceptable” and to anyone who is convinced that the city civil office by the police to file a complaint with accountability, or by dialing 311 A mistake was made from them.
Local news site Block Club Chicago reported that one of the guards, an 18-year-old woman, had several teeth in front of her when an officer punched her. It also shared a video of the attack and a photo of the woman’s blood-soaked mouth and missing teeth. It identified him as Miracle Boyd, a member of the anti-gun violence group Goodkids Madicity.
The police department said in a statement that officers gathered at the park gathered the protesters there and were “providing security and their First Amendment right to peacefully gather.” It said that the protesters turned on some members of the crowd as soon as they reached the statue. Police used further protests to attack officers with fireworks, rocks, frozen bottles and other items. “
An organizer for the protest, Amika Tendaji, during which artists tagged the statue with slogans including “Decolonize Chicago” and “Black Lives Matter”, officials forcefully reduced the use of the statue to protect it.
“I think the people of Chicago and the world have proved that they are committing police brutality on people,” she said. “They are on police killing, they are on police terrorism, so people will keep fighting.”
The Columbus statue in Grant Park and the city’s Little Italy neighborhood were also vandalized last month.
Protesters across the county have called for the removal of Columbus’s statues, saying that Italian explorers are responsible for the genocide and exploitation of Native people in America.
In cities like Miami, Columbus statues were also dropped or demolished; Richmond, Virginia; St. Paul, Minnesota; And Boston, where one was removed.