Seven people have been arrested in Miami for vandalizing statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de León after altercations with police, numerous sources reported.
Protesters spray painted the statues with “BLM” (Black Lives Matter), George Floyd, and a hammer and sickle and police reported being assaulted and having their vehicles damaged by violent protesters, according to ABC News.
Police said “peaceful protesters” were not arrested. Officials used surveillance cameras to identify the seven people who were not named, according to the Miami Herald.
The Christopher Columbus statue at Bayfront Park has been vandalized amid protests against police brutality. https://t.co/drdogU6lyz
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) June 10, 2020
“In the City of Miami, we support peaceful protests but there will be zero tolerance for those who hide behind the peaceful protesters to incite riots, damage property, and hurt members of the public or our officers,” Chief of Police Jorge Colina police said in a statement.
Police were making arrests Wednesday after they said officers were assaulted and police vehicles were damaged, the Miami Herald reported.
Christopher Columbus has been routinely decried by activists as having a brutal legacy of conquest, and over the years, the holiday intended to commemorate his arrival in the Americas has been replaced with holidays like “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
Ponce de León is the Spanish conquistador credited with landing on the mainland of North America in 1513 and giving Florida its name.
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 10, 2020
Other Columbus statues were also vandalized in Richmond, Virginia and Boston, Massachusetts, where the statue was torn down or found beheaded, respectively. At a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday, a Columbus statue was pulled to the ground from its base. (RELATED: Protesters Topple, Behead Christopher Columbus Statues In Richmond And Boston)