Portland protesters topple Roosevelt, Lincoln statues, police declare riot

Organizers named the event "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage." 

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Teddy Roosevelt
A topple statue of Theodore Roosevelt in Portland, Oregon, Oct. 11, 2020.
(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Updated: October 13, 2020 - 6:21pm

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Protesters overturned statues of former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in Portland, Ore., ahead of Monday's federal Columbus Day holiday.

The incidents occurred Sunday night in an event organizers named "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage." 

Columbus, a 15th-century Italian explorer whose voyages set in motion the European colonization of the Americas, has in recent times become a polarizing figure for Native Americans who say he started centuries of genocide against indigenous populations.

On Sunday, the protesters aimed their "rage" at a Roosevelt statue, officially titled "Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider." They threw red paint on the monument and began using a blowtorch on the statue's base before pulling it down with chains, according to CBS.com and other news outlets.

Members of the group then pulled down the statue of Lincoln, who historians say expressed hostility toward Native Americans.

Protesters spray-painted "Dakota 38" on the base of Lincoln's statue, referencing the 38 Dakota men Lincoln approved to have hanged after the men were involved in a violent conflict with white settlers in Minnesota, according to CBS.

The group also smashed windows before police declared the event a riot and ordered the group to disperse. 

The incident was the most recent in a series of social-justice protests since George Floyd, a black man, died May 25 in police custody.

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