A crowd of protesters gathered around a statue of George Washington in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday night and lit a fire on its head before pulling it to the ground.
Photos and video from the scene showed that the statue was spray painted with “Genocidal Colonist,” “You’re on native lands,” “BLM” and “Big Floyd” – presumably referring to George Floyd, who died last month at the hands of Minneapolis police.
It was also tagged with 1619, which is a reference to the year the first slaves were brought to what is now the United States.
Portland Police said the group ran off and there have been no arrests.
On Sunday, protesters pulled down a statue of Thomas Jefferson outside of a Portland high school named after the third president and spray painted “slave owner” and George Floyd’s name on its base, CNN affiliate KOIN reported.
Both Washington and Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves during their lifetimes.
Police said hundreds of people held a peaceful rally on Thursday night outside Jefferson High School. Many people there told KOIN that they were ending that event early to rest up for Friday’s Juneteenth celebrations commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
People around the country are reconsidering the legacies of the founding fathers and other historic figures in response to the massive Black Lives Matter protests against systematic racism and injustice.
Many cities have moved to take down statues and monuments honoring Confederate figures, and monuments to Christopher Columbus have been criticized because of the explorer’s cruel treatment of indigenous people.
It’s a debate that is going on worldwide. Anti-racism protesters in Britain pulled down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and threw it in a river. Other controversial figures – including Winston Churchill – have been targeted. Belgium has also begun removing statues of former King Leopold II for his brutal exploitation of Africa.