Rioters in Portland, Oregon, toppled a nearly 100-year-old George Washington statue Thursday night. Before tearing the monument down, activists burned American flags and spray-painted the words “BLM” for Black Lives Matter and “genocidal colonist” on the statue.
About 30 to 40 activists gathered at the George Washington statue, located on the lawn of the German American Society in northeast Portland, at 11 p.m. Thursday. The statue of the first U.S. president was spray-painted with graffiti, including “Big Floyd” for George Floyd, “f*** cops,” “white fragility,” and “1619,” a reference to the New York Times “project” that argues that “no part of America has been untouched by slavery.”
Activists lit an American flag on fire and draped it over the head of the nearly 8-foot-tall George Washington statue. Rioters then used rope to tear down the statue of one of the country’s Founding Fathers.
The bronze statue was created by Pompeo Coppini, an Italian immigrant. He created three George Washington statues, one in Mexico City before it was torn down and the other in Austin, Texas. The George Washington statue in Portland was erected in 1926 as a tribute to the sesquicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. The statue is reported to be a part of the City of Portland and Multnomah County Public Art Collection, courtesy of the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
During the three weeks of nationwide George Floyd protests, activists have brought down or attempted to remove various historic statues.
Rioters in Portland tore down a statue of Thomas Jefferson on Monday.
The Christopher Columbus monument in Richmond, Virginia, was ripped down and dragged into a lake.
The Christopher Columbus statue in Boston was beheaded.
Boston residents are calling for the removal of a statue dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
A social studies teacher from Rhode Island was arrested for vandalizing a Christopher Columbus statue in Providence.
Also this week in Portland, protesters attempted to establish an autonomous zone, much like the CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle. The activists tried to create the autonomous zone outside the alleged apartment of Ted Wheeler, the city’s Democratic mayor. Portland police quickly put a stop to that effort early Thursday morning.