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Protesters topple George Washington statue, cover with burning US flag in Portland

The George Washington statue at 57th and Sandy in Portland, Oregon, prior to being toppled by protesters on June 18, 2020. (Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
June 19, 2020

Protesters tore down a statue of America’s first president, George Washington, on Thursday night in Portland, Ore. and set it on fire.

The statue of Washington was standing in northeast Portland until Thursday night. Video first emerged of a burning flag being draped over the still standing flag, and later video showed the statue being pulled down with ropes. Yet another video showed a burning American flag draped over the statue.

Andy Ngô, an editor at The Post Millennial, claimed Antifa activists were responsible for the toppling of the statue, though his claim could not be confirmed. The activists who toppled the statue scattered before police arrived, according to KXL News.

“Antifa rioters on Sandy Blvd. in Portland draped a US flag over a George Washington statue & set it on fire. They then toppled the statue,” tweeted Ngô “‘Genocidal colonist’ & ‘f— cops’ are sprayed on monument. Rioters have began to build another autonomous zone nearby.”

Further videos showed the extent of the graffiti also sprayed over Washington’s statue.

The date “1619” was sprayed on the statue, in reference to the arrival of slaves to the American colonies. “Big Floyd” was also spray-painted, in reference to George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

On Friday morning, Ngô tweeted another video of the toppled statue and the surrounding graffiti, against casting blame on Antifa.

“Portland wakes up to see what antifa did overnight. A century-old statue of George Washington was toppled & set on fire with an American flag. ‘White fragility,’ ‘Damn white men’ & other messages are written on the moment. On the ground nearby: ‘Defund white men.’”

The toppling of Washington’s statue comes just days after a statue of America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, was also torn down and vandalized.

Protests following Floyd’s death initially focused on the circumstances of his death and concerns about police tactics, however, demonstrations have grown around the topic of monuments of historical figures. Activists first focused on monuments to Confederate leaders, who seceded from the union in defense of slavery. Since then, activists have gone on to target other controversial historical figures, such as Christopher Columbus.

Statues of Washington and Jefferson have both been targeted as having owned slaves. Washington also served as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the war for American independence from British rule. Jefferson helped write the Declaration of Independence.