New Orleans protesters ripped down the bust of a notorious slave owner, splattered it with paint, dragged it through the streets — and then tossed it in the Mississippi River, according to a report.
Two people were taken into custody after police said demonstrators protesting the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis used a chisel, a rope, and a skateboard to topple the bust of John McDonogh on Saturday, then rolled it into the river, the Times-Picayune reported.
Protesters also scribbled the word “RACIST” in red on the statue’s pedestal.
McDonogh, a 19th Century real estate and shipping magnate, was also a prominent slave owner and the target of protests in recent years, the outlet said.
The bust was taken down around 5:30 p.m. in Duncan Plaza following a Take Back Pride Motorcade rally in the city, during which hundreds of cars and bicycles took to the streets to protest racial injustice and police brutality, the Times-Picayune said.
About 200 demonstrators converged on the bust, dragged it into the street, then drove it to the river, where it was hurled into the water.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell denounced what she called “vandalism and destruction of city property,” calling it “unlawful.”
“Demonstrators at Duncan Plaza damaged a statue, drug it into the streets at Gravier St. & Loyola Avenue and loaded onto two trucks, which were then transported to Jax Brewery and thrown into the river,” Cantrell said on Twitter.
“The two individuals who were driving the trucks that transported the statues were apprehended and transported to NOPD Headquarters.”
It is unclear why two trucks were required.
New Orleans police announced the arrests Sunday and released photos of another “person of interest” in the incident, the department announced.
The McDonogh bust is just the latest monument targeted by demonstrators in the wake of Floyd’s death after being pinned down by Minneapolis cops for nearly nine minutes.
Earlier this month, British protesters in England tore done the statue of 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston, and demonstrators in Antwerp set a statue of colonialist Belgian King Leopold II on fire, prompting local officials to remove it.
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