Protesters vandalized, tore down and threw a statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond’s Byrd Park in the park’s lake.

As racial reckoning occurs across the country following George Floyd’s death, activists have torn down many Confederate statues.

For instance, they recently destroyed statues of Christopher Columbus, one of the famous controversial figures in US history.

Columbus Has Long Been a Controversial Figure in History for His Mistreatment of Indigenous Communities

He also played a huge role in the violent colonization of these communities.

In recent years, many cities and states have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. That’s in recognition of the pain and terror Columbus, and other explorers caused.

And some demonstrators have said they targeted Columbus statues to stand in solidarity with Indigenous people.

Toppling of Columbus Monument at Byrd Park

So at Byrd Park, protested vandalized, toppled and threw Columbus statue into Fountain Lake.

Several crowd members also lit fireworks over the lake in celebration.

At first, activists splattered the statue with red paint before toppling it.

The red paint signified the blood of indigenous people who suffered during his lifetime.

They later thew the statue to the lake.

Earlier, demonstrations started in Byrd Park. Several speakers were members of the Richmond Indigenous Society, a local community group for indigenous people.

And while addressing the crowd, the speakers said they represented indigenous people and supported the BLM movement.

They even held a sign near the Columbus statue that read:

“This land is POWHATAN land.”

Vanessa Bolin, from the Richmond Indigenous Society, told Richmond Times-Dispatch:

“This continent is built on the blood and the bones of our ancestors. But it is built off the backs, sweat, tears, blood and the bones of Africans.”

“We’re not here to hijack your movement. We’re here to stand in solidarity.”

And after the removal of the statue, many people took to social media to celebrate.

Some joked that ‘[Columbus] was merely exploring the lake the statue now lies in.’

One person tweeted:

“He was just exploring a new area of the park and tripped into the fountain. He’s a freaking explorer! What did you expect?”

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa between August and October 1451. He was an Italian explorer and traveled extensively as a young man.

From Portugal, Columbus tried to gain royal patronage for a westward voyage to the Orient, “enterprise of the Indies.”

And American textbooks credit him with discovering “the New World” – the Americas – in the 15th century.

His arrival together with other Europeans explorers, however, devastated the indigenous people.

In fact, Native American activists have, claimed Columbus’ expeditions to the Americas prompted the colonization and genocide of their ancestors.