Portland rioters topple statues of Lincoln, Roosevelt in “Day of Rage”

Portland rioters topple statues of Lincoln, Roosevelt in “Day of Rage”
Source: Leah Millis, Reuters
The protesting group organized the “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage,” which resulted in mayhem on the streets of Portland a day before the federally observed holiday of Columbus Day on October 12.

On Sunday night, October 11, a group of violent protesters in Portland toppled statues of former United States Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and smashed windows and entrance to the Oregon Historical Society in Portland’s South Park Blocks.

The protesters also shattered storefronts and engaged in the destruction of public property in other areas of the city, which resulted in the Portland police declaring the incident a riot.

According to reports, the police made several arrests upon arrival at the scene about an hour after the rampaging protesters pulled down the first statue.

Taking to Twitter, the Portland police called the event a riot and announced that those “trying to pull down a statue with a chain” or taking part in vandalism were “subject to arrest.”

“To those marching downtown: this has been declared a RIOT. All persons must immediately disperse to the NORTH. Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest, citation, or crowd control agents, including, but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons,” the police tweeted.

A mob of around 200 people reportedly assembled under the Burnside Bridge late in the night and marched through downtown Portland for what they described as an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” – a protest calling for the abolishment of police and an end to colonialism.

Dressed all in black, the men were seen wearing body armor, carrying night sticks and brandishing other weapons.

A number of unruly demonstrators at the Oregon Historical Society building reportedly unfurled a banner that read, “Stop honoring racist colonizer murderers.”

Some protesters splashed red paint on a mural on the Sovereign Hotel building depicting the Lewis & Clark expedition while some were heard shouting slogans like “kill the pipeline, save the land" and “no coastal gas link on Wetʼsuwetʼen Territory,” as per reports.

The crowd also broke windows and demolished a sign at the Portland State University Campus Public Safety office, before proceeding to smash windows of several office towers and storefronts.

The protesting group organized the “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage,” which resulted in mayhem on the streets of Portland a day before the federally observed holiday of Columbus Day on October 12.

“We are calling for autonomous, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and anti-fascist actions," the group’s official website announced.

“We will take the streets and we will take the waters and the forests. We will intervene in settler and resource colonial violence. We will defend our communities.”

The group declared that they were planning “creative direct action" which “could look like marches, occupations, blockades, street theater, it could look like anti-colonial messages spray-painted on walls, it could look like monuments falling or taking on I.C.E. facilities, resource colonial corporations and their machinery."

Some ideological groups spread across several states and cities in the US have started observing October 12 as the day when, according to them, Christopher Columbus started a systematic campaign of violence against indigenous Americans.

A journalist named Andy Ngo covered the violent demonstrations and posted images of vandalism on Twitter.

Ngo shared a video in which the statue of former President Roosevelt, officially titled “Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider,” riding on horseback could be seen getting toppled by – in Ngo’s words – “Antifa rioters,” who were cheering when the statue shifted. The act was believed to be carried out at around 8:50 pm.

A protester in the video could be heard resorting to graphic language while referring to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

“F— all you colonizers. Every one of you that’s against Black Lives Matter can f— the f— off.”

At around 9 pm, the group gathered around the statue of President Lincoln in Portland’s South Park Block and pulled it to the ground. They followed it with spray-painting the words “Dakota 38" on the base of the statue a reference to the 38 Dakota men executed after the 1862 Dakota-US War of 1862, which is believed to be the largest mass execution in a single day in US history.

Newsweek reported that according to a video posted on Twitter, a protesting woman could be heard shouting, “We want our water protected. We want our land protected. We want our children protected. We do not want our children removed from their mothers anymore.”

“We want the acknowledgement done that the boarding school system of the United States was a terrible, terrible mistake with terrible genocide.”

The pandemonium that unfolded on the streets of Portland on Sunday night is just one of the hundreds of incidents of a similar nature that have happened over the past few months. Many historic statues of prominent American leaders have been dislodged and destroyed.

In June, raging protesters toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland and placed a sticker on the head of the statue reading “You are on Native land.” Thomas Jefferson’s statue was torn down in Portland in the same month. Historians consider that both former presidents enslaved people during their lifetimes.

Clashes in several US cities, including Portland, have been taking place regularly since the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer on May 25. The fight for racial justice, in the form of the massive Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, has often turned violent as cases of loot and vandalism during protests as well as unjustified police crackdowns on protestors have widely been reported.

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