The statue of Columbus, the Italian navigator who reached the Americas in 1492, was taken down on Saturday, marking the latest monument to be toppled in anti-racism protests.
Several statues of figures connected to colonialism and slavery have been ripped from their plinths in the United States and elsewhere around the world following the death in custody of unarmed George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, which sparked Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the US.
A video the Baltimore Sun published shows the statue was pulled down near the city’s Little Italy district by protesters who later at night rolled it into the Inner Harbor.
Columbus, who has for long been hailed as the so-called discoverer of “The New World,” is regarded by many to have spurred years of genocide against indigenous groups in the Americas.
He is also criticized in a similar way to Civil War generals of the pro-slavery South.
Last month in San Francisco, a statue of Columbus was also taken down because his actions “do not deserve to be venerated,” city officials said, and another was removed from California’s state capital Sacramento.
In a speech earlier on Saturday, President Donald Trump mentioned him to mark the July 4 holiday, when Americans celebrate their 1776 declaration of independence from Britain.
“Together we will fight for the American dream, and we will defend, protect, and preserve American way of life which began in 1492 when Columbus discovered America,” he said.
“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and the people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing,” he said.
“We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children.”
Last month, Trump signed an executive order, vowing to enforce prosecution for those demonstrators who vandalize public memorials, promising “long prison terms” for “lawless acts against our Great Country!”