As anti-racism protests continue across the world, a statue of famous coloniser Christopher Columbus has been removed in Virginia.

The statue had been covered with red paint earlier on Tuesday. Now it rests face down in Fountain Lake, the park's paddleboat lake, after being toppled by protesters.

A speaker at the rally said:

Anything that oppresses people of colour needs to go.

While a protester who admitted to helping tear down the statue said that observers repeatedly chanted "tear it down!" a the statue was forcibly removed. A sign on the pedestal now reads:

Columbus represents genocide.

The move comes after viral footage of several historical statues being removed spread across the world. In Bristol, protesters celebrated as they removed a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it in a nearby river.

Christopher Columbus is a widely revered historical figure credited with making four historic trans-Atlantic voyages from Spain to the Caribbean Islands and Central and South America near the late 1490s. His voyages mark the start of European colonisation in the Americas, which was disastrous for indigenous people.

Despite being a celebrated figure, with his own holiday, Colombus has since been described as a "tyrant... marked by routine cruelty."

A 2015 op-ed in the Washington Post described that Columbus "saw profit in enslaving and selling native peoples kidnapped from Caribbean shores." It also described how Columbus sent nearly 1,500 enslaved islanders to be sold in European slave markets and forced other indigenous people to work in gold mines where they died from malnourishment, overwork and disease.

The toppling of the statues follows increased debate about what should be done about statues which celebrate slavery and other forms of racism.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)