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Black Lives Matter protesters besiege Christopher Columbus statue in Chicago

An estimated 1,000 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered around the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park on Friday evening in an effort to tear it down.

Collin Jones The Post Millennial
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An estimated 1,000 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered around the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park on Friday evening in an effort to tear it down.

Members of law enforcement had fireworks and other items hurled their way, and in response used batons on those who got too close, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A large number of attendees were dressed in all-black clothes and decided to rush the statue, surrounding and jumping the small stone wall that circled it.  

The Chicago Tribune reported that one man in the crowd shouted: "This is not the way! ... We don't want them to shoot us." The man was reportedly told to back off.

Protesters had managed to get the ropes around the giant statue, attempting to topple it, but ultimately failed when police reclaimed the position shortly after.

As demonstrators latched on to the ropes and began to pull, others in the crowd yelled: "Columbus was a murderer. Columbus was a thief."

More members of law enforcement arrived soon after that turned into a standoff between them and the protesters. Pepper spray was soon deployed on the demonstrators, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Eighteen police officers were injured during the event, with a number of them having to go to the hospital to be treated. Thomas Ahern, Chicago police spokesman, said that several demonstrators were arrested and facing charges ranging from mob action to battery.

“Officers were there to not only protect the property, but they were to ensure the safety of the protestors and their First Amendment right to protest peacefully when the crowd turned on the police, literally ambushed the police with all their projectiles,” Ahern noted.

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