A statue of George Washington, the first president of the United States, was toppled and draped in a burning American flag by protesters in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday evening.
KOIN 6 reports:
Thursday marked the 21st day of protests in Portland sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Two groups — Rose City Justice and Lavender Caucus — hosted a sit-in rally at Jefferson High School in the evening where community members shared their experiences with racism to a crowd of a few hundred. The group did not hold a march.
A separate group of about 20 people met at NE Sandy Boulevard and NE 57th Avenue around 10 p.m. at the site of a large bronze statue of George Washington. Some wrapped the statue’s head in an American flag and lit the flag on fire. Their numbers grew over the next hour until there were enough people to pull the statue to the ground. They quickly scattered. A KOIN 6 News crew found the statue face down and covered in graffiti. Portland police arrived a short time later.
Photos and video of the teardown were shared to Twitter by local reporters and citizen journalist Garrison Davis:
Another flag burning, this time on George Washington’s back. #Portlandprotest #statue #blacklivesmatter #PDXprotests #pdx #oregon #blm #acab #pdx #georgewashington #flagburning#StatuesMustFall pic.twitter.com/diSjnwO3IO
— Garrison Davis (Teargas Glutton) (@hungrybowtie) June 19, 2020
Statue of George Washington felled in Portland. pic.twitter.com/D05otcwHpX
— Tim Dickinson (@7im) June 19, 2020
The George Washington statue in the Hollywood District of NE Portland is the latest one to be vandalized. The statue and sidewalk have been graffitied. @KGWNews #GeorgeWashington #vandalism pic.twitter.com/RIxe9s2utL
— Eric Patterson (@KGWphotog) June 19, 2020
Protesters in Portland are taking racial inequality frustrations out on statues of historical figures who were also slave owners. This George Washington statue was toppled last night. #Fox12Oregon pic.twitter.com/lrTmnIJmDL
— Debra Gil (@DebraGil) June 19, 2020
The monument and its base were covered in vandalism, including the phrases: “Murder,” “Big Floyd,” “1619,” “Fuck Cops,” “BLM,” “Land Back,” “White Fragility,” and “You’re on Native Land.”
On Sunday, a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the United States’ third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, was defaced and torn down outside a Portland high school.
Photos obtained by Oregon Live show the base of the monument was spray-painted in black with “slave owner” and “George Floyd.”
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) June 15, 2020
The statue, which was situated in front of Jefferson High School, was yanked down following a protest against police brutality organized by Rose City Justice.
“There’s an interesting piece of history up here… Mr. Thomas is all beside himself,” one protester said of the statue being toppled.
“We’re taking this city back,” the organizer added. “One school at a time. One racist statue at a time.”
The toppling of the Washington statue comes as historical monuments across the country have been targeted in the wake of protests and violent unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.