From Churchill to Columbus: Idols Fall as George Floyd Killing Reminds World of Iconic Leaders' Racist Past

Protesters around the world are now turning towards statues and monuments of famed world leaders, like former British PM Winston Churchill or Columbus.

This week, statues of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus were damaged in Virginia, Minnesota and Boston in the United States amid George Floyd protests as protesters continued to direct their anger and frustration with systemic racism towards monuments and statues. 

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after being arrested by the police outside a shop in Minneapolis in the US on May 25. Footage showed a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes while he was pinned to the floor. He was pronounced dead later in the hospital, triggering widespread protests across the US.

His death triggered widespread furore as people across nations went up in arms against police brutality and racism. In fact, all fifty states of the USA took to the streets, even amid the coronavirus pandemic, to fight for basic civil rights which the African American communities have been denied for generations. The #BlackLivesMovement, however, has now culminated into something bigger - something that was a long time coming. 

Protesters around the world are now turning towards statues and monuments of famed world leaders, like former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill or Columbus - "icons" whose racist histories have been ignored for decades to glorify them as leaders, explorers and politicians. Protesters have been tearing down these monuments of people who are emblematic of racism as a mark of protest against systemic racism.

READTwitter Cheers on as BLM Protestors Bring Down Christopher Columbus Statues

READWhy Hundreds Have Signed Online Petition for Removal of Robert Clive's Statue in UK

"Columbus represents genocide"

In Boston, a statue of Columbus was beheaded. The broken pieces of the head were found in an area a little way off. A very powerful photo of the headless statue was taken by photographer Mark Garfinkel, and later tweeted by NBC. 


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