PHOTOS: Protesters call for the tearing down of Christopher Columbus statue on Indigenous Peoples' Day | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

PHOTOS: Protesters call for the tearing down of Christopher Columbus statue on Indigenous Peoples' Day

click to enlarge Emmanuel Todd-Baraka, carrying an American Indian Movement flag, listens to speakers during a protest on Indigenous Peoples' Day in front of the wrapped-up Christopher Columbus statue in Oakland. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Emmanuel Todd-Baraka, carrying an American Indian Movement flag, listens to speakers during a protest on Indigenous Peoples' Day in front of the wrapped-up Christopher Columbus statue in Oakland.
Mere hours after an Italian-American group in support of Pittsburgh's Christopher Columbus statue in Schenley Park convened at the monument, another protest was held in the same location, calling for its removal on Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Various POC-led groups organized the gathering with multiple speakers talking of the racist actions and ideals the monument stands for. One protester early on stated that the monument weighs around 2300 pounds and would take over 60 people to topple, by their calculations. A few counter-protesters and agitators walked by shouting while speakers talked, but were ushered out of the nearby area before taking refuge near the Pittsburgh Police Civil Affairs team where they continued yelling.

Law enforcement, including around 10 police officers on motorcycles, kept their distance for the majority of the protest until people starting painting the plastic wrap surrounding the statue. The statue was wrapped after Mayor Bill Peduto announced his agreement with the city's Arts Commission on Oct. 9 to formerly remove the statue from the park.

After Civil Affairs officers were told the protesters wouldn't stop painting, Special Response Team officers in partial riot gear arrived and surrounded the monument. One tense moment occurred when an officer approached a protester and asked them to turn off their flashlight. When fellow protesters protected the person being questioned, a police officer who had been questioned for not wearing his mask properly lunged at the group of protesters with an opened baton and yelled, "Get back!" before his own peers pulled him back to the line.


Close to 8 p.m., the group dispersed peacefully. After the group left, a man wearing an Italian-American sweatshirt and carrying a leaf blower had arrived to presumably clean up the site of any leaves.
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge A Pittsburgh Police SRT officer approaches a group of protesters. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
A Pittsburgh Police SRT officer approaches a group of protesters.
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

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