Portland protesters topple Roosevelt and Lincoln statues in ‘Day of Rage’, cops slammed for 'not doing anything'

A group of protesters toppled statues of former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in Portland’s South Park Block on October 11 after which Internet blamed police for letting it happen


                            Portland protesters topple Roosevelt and Lincoln statues in ‘Day of Rage’, cops slammed for 'not doing anything'
Statues of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (Wikipedia)
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PORTLAND, OREGON: In an attempt to purportedly undo the injustice inflicted on non-White communities, protesters in Portland toppled statues of former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln at South Park Block on October 11. They reportedly began heading to other areas of downtown, smashing windows and engaging in acts of destruction as was visible from photographs that surfaced on the Internet. 

After the felling of statues, Portland police declared the event a riot and ordered people in the area to disperse. However, it did not directly intervene until nearly an hour after the first statue fell. The swarm of protesters scattered only when police cruisers flooded the area and officers made several arrests as reported by Oregon Live
 
The site reported that the enraged protesters had earlier promoted the event on their social media in the name of “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage.” For the unversed, October 11 is marked as Indigenous Peoples Day over concerns that Christopher Columbus' arrival in America forged centuries of violence against indigenous populations. Hence the movement organized by certain communities is perceived as a call for “autonomous, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and anti-fascist actions”. A video of the rioting was posted on Twitter that shows smashed glass. A social media post even called for an end of colonialism and the abolishment of police.

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The organizers of the event Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage repeatedly instructed the crowd to avoid filming the event as the group of protesters who were there to topple statues was nearly 200 strong. Passersby were ordered by demonstrators to stop filming or delete photographs. As the mob reached the South Park Blocks, a group threw chains on Roosevelt’s statue, a bronze sculpture officially titled “Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider,” as others took a blowtorch to its base and splattered it with red paint, Oregon Live adds in its report. They began to pull until the statue rocked from side to side before it tumbled down at 8:51 pm.

The infuriated crowd did not stop there. They then headed to the nearby Abraham Lincoln statue, pulling it to the ground at 8:59 pm. Furthermore, they spray painted the base of the statue with the words “Dakota 38” referencing 38 men of the Dakota tribe who were executed after the Dakota-US War of 1862 which is the largest mass execution in a single day in American history. President Lincoln had provided a list of 39 names of prisoners to be executed. 

After toppling the statues, the protesters started to smash windows at the Oregon Historical Society, unfurling a banner that read, “Stop honoring racist colonizer murderers.” A mural on the attached Sovereign Hotel building depicting the Lewis & Clark expedition was smothered with red paint.The crowd further moved through downtown, breaking windows and damaging a sign at the Portland State University Campus Public Safety office Oregon Live reported. 

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Why did protesters topple statues?

There is a growing sentiment of anger that has shaped in the United States against racial injustice triggered by the Minneapolis police killing of Black man George Floyd. His killing led to public outrage where protesters across the country started targeting statues that they saw as symbols of longstanding oppression — most notably the statues of Confederate leaders that still stood across the South.

Roosevelt is registered in history for expressing hostility toward Native Americans, as reported by Indian Country Today. He thrust policies that professed assimilation into white culture and supported the allotment system by which Native American land was allotted to those who became US citizens. The reason touted to topple Lincoln’s statue is not explicitly known but it can be drawn back to the Dakota 38 sentencing.

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Portland police slammed

Portland police issued warnings to protesters in a series of tweets. However, they were slammed by the Internet for letting the statues fall and remaining passive.

Portland police tweeted on October 11, “A mass gathering has formed at Southwest Park Avenue and Southwest Madison Street, where some are trying to pull down a statue with a chain. To those taking part: anyone involved in criminal behavior, including vandalism, is subject to arrest or citation. (continued)” It added, “Failure to adhere to this direction may subject you to citation, arrest, and crowd control agents including but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons.” In another tweet it wrote, “Portland Police will adhere to a prohibition on the use of CS gas, but a warning using the general term "tear gas" is required by state law.” It added, “We have gotten reports of windows being broken in numerous buildings. The gathering has been declared a riot.” Warning rioters police tweeted, “To those marching downtown: this has been declared a RIOT. All persons must immediately disperse to the NORTH. Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest, citation, or crowd control agents, including, but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons.” 

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A user slammed police and wrote, “I always wonder who you all think is checking your twitter while they supposedly riot.” Another concurred blasting police, “Looks like y'all are giving the criminal activity a pass now?” A user wrote against police, “They failed to adhere, you didn't do ANYTHING and the statue came down. At this point defunding the Dept won't change anything, since for you stand by and f**kin watch.” Another user wrote posting a picture of rioting and slamming police, “Mass gathering of people with weapons. Why do they get a friendly escort and instead of threats of the arrest?” 

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These allegations were made by the internet and individual organizations, MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) cannot confirm them independently and nor does it support these claims being made on the Internet.