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portland protests

Portland protesters tear down Lincoln, Roosevelt statues ahead of Columbus Day

A group of protesters in Portland, Oregon, toppled statues of former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln on Sunday night ahead of Columbus Day, a federal holiday that has come under fire from activists, who cite the brutality its namesake displayed against indigenous peoples after arriving in the Americas in the 15th century.

Statues have served as a point of contention for months now in the wake of nationwide protests against systemic racism, as Americans of all political persuasions debate the meaning and merit of commemorating certain historical figures. Most often, the controversies have centered on Confederate monuments, but the incidents Sunday night in Portland focused on two of the nation's most famous and popular commanders-in-chief, including Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 and was in office when the Union defeated the Confederacy, ending the Civil War. The protesters, who dubbed the event "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage," reportedly spray-painted "Dakota 38" on the base of Lincoln's state, referring to the 38 Dakota men whose executions the president signed off on in 1862 following a violent conflict with white settlers in Minnesota.

The news has already sparked backlash, including from President Trump, who on Monday morning decried the "Biden fools" and "antifa radicals" behind the topplings, urging the FBI to "get them now." Read more at The Associated Press.