In the US city of Baltimore, demonstrators tore a Columbus statue from its base.
They then threw the statue into the city’s harbor. Similar actions had already taken place in cities like Miami or Boston. In San Francisco, the statue of the navigator was removed through the city. Activists accuse Christopher Columbus of being responsible for the exploitation and genocide of America’s indigenous people.
Historians: “Demonstrators’ criticisms are not always tenable”
The seafarer’s travels in Spanish service laid the foundation for the Spanish colonization of Central and South America. In Spain, left-wing politicians and Catalan separatists have called for the removal of Columbus statues. Emilio Saenz Frances, historian and professor of international relations at the Pontifical Comillas University in Madrid, already expressed an understanding of the protests against racism in a conversation with the Catholic News Agency in June. “But putting American slave traders from the 19th century in a sack with Spanish conquerors from the 16th century is absurd,” he added. According to the historian, more and more American and Spanish politicians are currently subjecting themselves to historically unsustainable reviews by demonstrators.
Pilar Latasa, a professor of American history at the University of Navarre in Pamplona, said Columbus and other personalities had done things that, from today’s perspective, were morally reprehensible. But one should “not see them through today’s glasses”, as many anti-racism demonstrators would. The organization “Hispanic Council” had already declared that one of the first Spanish conquerors could not speak of a “genocide” of the indigenous population of America.
Criticism from US President Trump
President Trump criticized the protesters at yesterday’s Independence Day ceremony. You will never let an angry mob tear down the statues or erase the country’s history, he said. Trump’s designated challenger Biden emphasized that the United States had never lived up to its founding principle that all people were created equal. In several US cities, protests against racism and police violence again took place on the national holiday. US flags were burned near the White House in Washington, DC and in front of the Trump Tower in New York City.
In the US city of Seattle, a man drove into a group of demonstrators and seriously injured two women. A 24-year-old was brought to a hospital with life-threatening injuries and died there, several media report. A 32-year-old is in serious condition.