RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Spectators in the North Carolina capital cheered on Sunday morning as the work crews got the job started Friday night by protesters and removed a Southern statue from the top of a 75-foot (232-meter) monument.
Across the country, a peaceful protest in Portland, Oregon, against racial injustice turned violent early Sunday, after the baton-wielding police used flashy grenades to disperse protesters who threw bottles, cans, and rocks at sheriff’s deputies near the Justice Center in the Centre.
News reports reported that work crews acting on behalf of North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper removed the statue on Sunday morning and began to demolish the obelisk on which it stood.
Sunday’s work follows the removal of two other Confederate statues from Saturday’s State Capitol grounds in Raleigh.
Cooper ordered the images removed after the protesters toppled two other Southern statues on Friday evening, tied at the neck and suspended from a light pole.
“Monuments of white supremacy do not belong in places of fidelity, and it is a thing of the past that these painful memorials are moved in a legal, safe manner,” Cooper said in a news release on Saturday.
A 2015 law prohibits the removal of the statues without the approval of a historic state commission, but Cooper said he is acting under a public safety exception to the law out of concern for the danger posed when protestors attempt to topple the statues themselves .
Cooper has been calling for the images to be removed for years. However, Republicans blamed him for not ordering the police to take a firmer stance Friday night to protect the memorials.
In Baltimore, a statue and memorial to George Washington in a city park were smashed with red paint.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the monument in northwestern Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park also had the words “Destroy Racists” and the initials for the Black Lives Matter movement on the base.
Police said on Sunday morning that they had received no complaints about vandalism.
Baltimore removed several statues and memorials related to the Confederacy in 2017.
Since Confederate statues and memorials have been attacked throughout the South, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protesters have sometimes also turned to Founding Fathers who were slave owners, including Washington.
In California, protesters this weekend focused on images and busts of former President Ulysses Grant, who commanded the Union army that defeated the Confederacy; Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner;” and Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, who is credited with bringing Roman Catholicism to the western United States Grant and Key were both slave owners at certain times in their lives.
In another case in California, the symbols of the Black Lives Matter movement have been the target of vandalism in recent weeks. Three men, including employees of a sheriff’s office and a prosecutor, were arrested for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said late on Saturday that a sail painted with the letters “BLM” has been repeatedly damaged in Thousand Oaks. The owner of the board posted an image of the damage on social media, and the agency says investigators have identified a suspect as a sheriff’s office worker.
The employee received a referral to a criminal vandalism and received paid administrative leave. Another person investigated for vandalism on the board worked for the prosecutor.
Portland police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputies arrested several people after a group of protesters converted a fence that closed downtown, threw items like fireworks at officers, and ignored repeated warnings to spread, police said in a statement . It said that some people shone lasers in the eyes of delegates.
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