Protesters topple George Washington statue in Portland

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN/NEWS10) — A quiet evening of demonstrations for racial justice and police reform in Portland ended with the razing of a George Washington statue on the eve of Juneteenth.

Thursday marked the 21st day of protests in Portland sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. A crowd of a few hundred made up of two groups—Rose City Justice and Lavender Caucus—hosted a sit-in rally at Jefferson High School in the evening where community members shared their experiences with racism. The group did not hold a march.

A separate group of about 20 people met around 10 p.m. at the site of a large bronze statue of George Washington. Some wrapped the statue’s head in an American flag and lit the flag on fire.

Their numbers grew over the next hour, until there were enough people to pull the statue to the ground. They quickly scattered once it fell, and our sister station’s news crew found it face down and covered in graffiti. Portland police arrived a short time later.

Early Friday, prominent national activist Shaun King retweeted a video from New York Times Northwest correspondent Mike Baker of the statue coming down:

Later on Friday, King responded to backlash against criticism of the legacy of Founding Fathers like Washington.

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