On Saturday night, Baltimore protesters pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus, and social media can hardly get over the viral moment. Videos and pictures of the statue coming down are all over Twitter, along with the sight of Columbus plunging into the city's Inner Harbor. The topic had Twitter users split on Sunday.
Protesters commemorated the Fourth of July by throwing ropes around a statue of Columbus in Baltimore's Little Italy neighborhood, according to a report by The Baltimore Sun. After pulling the statue down and breaking it, they sunk it under the water, in a sight that is now becoming surprisingly familiar to social media users. This is not the first statue in the U.S. to be symbolically toppled amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests around the country — in fact, it's not even the first statue of Columbus to get this treatment.
Protesters just took down the Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore’s Little Italy. pic.twitter.com/ViPk5eKOtz— Louis Krauss (@louiskraussnews) July 5, 2020
Of course, many people criticized the protesters as their video circulated online. Some said that violence and property destruction only hurt their cause, even if they supported the protests in spirit. Others accused these protesters of trying to "erase" or "rewrite history."
Meanwhile, many people on the same side as the protesters had critiques of how the social media discourse itself was unfolding. Many called on the people posting videos and photos to take them down or to edit them so that the faces, tattoos and other identifying marks of the protesters were obscured. They feared that law enforcement would use these viral videos to go after protesters later on.
Historically speaking, it has been proven at this point that Columbus was a cruel tyrant to his crews, the Native people he encountered and anyone else who came within striking distance. A 2013 report by The Guardian details the latest findings on Columbus' legacy of torture, sexual violence and mass enslavement, which led to the Queen of Spain removing him from power and investigating him for criminal behavior. It has also long been established that Columbus was not the first European to reach the Americas.
Statues of Columbus have now been defaced or destroyed in Miami, Florida; Richmond, Virginia and St. Paul Minnesota. Another in Boston was decapitated this week, while two in California were preemptively removed by local officials. Still, the sight of a statue coming down has the power to stir social media. Here's a look at how Twitter responded on Sunday.
Good. Seriously, let's put up some monuments that celebrate the good parts of our country instead of this sanitized history.— JaneBrenda (@JaneBrenda11) July 5, 2020
Now this is a video. No faces, no phones, just vibes. https://t.co/80iL85dU1P— Vegan Thee Scallion (@HollyGoNightly1) July 5, 2020
Looks like he’s discovered the lakebed 👋🏼— Darren (@ThisCharminManc) July 5, 2020
Columbus Discovers Baltimore Harbor https://t.co/0321vF6JiB— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) July 5, 2020
I don't care that a statue of Christopher Columbus was pulled down and thrown in the harbor in Baltimore. Actually, good.
I do care that it's July 5th, and the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor are still walking around FREE.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) July 5, 2020
Today I issued the following statement on events in Baltimore City. City leaders need to regain control of their own streets and immediately start making them safer. pic.twitter.com/lnCAxjKvAG— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) July 5, 2020
'It's A Start'
Remove all of them across the country— aformerrepublican (@aformerrepublic) July 5, 2020