Throughout the protests and demonstrations of 2020, those on the ground looking to have their voices heard discovered an easy way to make sure that they captured the attention of the news cameras: Vandalism. Particularly – toppling or painting prominent statues in such a way the that damage makes for compelling television.
At first, the statues that were targeted were the “usual suspects”, so to speak. Confederate generals, slave owners…that sort of thing.
But then the list expanded rapidly. George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and even Abraham Lincoln were found guilty in the ever-changing court of pubic opinion.
On Thanksgiving, the statue-targeting began anew, this time in the name of a campaign known as “Landback”.
In Washington state, the Spokane Police Department reported that a statue of 16th President Abraham Lincoln was vandalized with red paint, while multiple colonial statues — including one of George Washington — were defaced and toppled overnight in Minneapolis.
“No more genocide” and “all colonizers are bastards” were scrawled in red graffiti on the works.
The Pan-Indigenous People’s Liberation (PIPL) network took responsibility for the move and explained in a statement that it was partly in response to a callout for a “national decolonial day of action.“
And that’s not all:
Portland, Ore., protesters tagged local markets and a monument dedicated to the veterans of the Civil War, Mexican, Spanish and Indian wars with anti-colonialist rhetoric.
Local law enforcement arrested three suspects at Portland’s Lone Fir Cemetery.
The Midwestern hub of Chicago witnessed a similar effort, though protesters ultimately failed to knock down a park statue of President William McKinley on Wednesday.
The words “land back” were painted in multiple cities, referring to the LANDBACK campaign. The indigenous movement aims to develop communities in a sustainable manner, defend American land and fight against White supremacy.
Opponents of the vandalism believe that these demonstrators have gone too far in their declarations of wrongdoing, and are targeting historical figures whose sins are far outweighed by their better deeds.
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