Home U.S. Protesters in Portland Topple Statues of Lincoln and Roosevelt

Protesters in Portland Topple Statues of Lincoln and Roosevelt


SEATTLE — Protesters in Portland, Ore., swept through the city on Sunday night, toppling statues of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and damaging the entrance to the Oregon Historical Society in a demonstration against colonization and the treatment of Native Americans.

Protests around the country this year have mainly targeted statues featuring slave owners and symbols of the Confederacy, but the demonstrators in Portland focused on the former presidents as part of a protest billed as an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage.”

President Trump seized on the toppling of the statues on Monday morning, citing the destruction as a reason to vote for him next month. “The Radical Left fools in Portland don’t want any help from real Law Enforcement which we will provide instantaneously,” he wrote on Twitter. “Vote!”

Lincoln has long been celebrated as the president who brought an end to slavery in the United States, but the protesters sprayed the base of his statute in Portland with “Dakota 38” — a reference to the largest mass execution in U.S. history, in which 38 Dakota Indians were sent to the gallows in 1862, accused of killing settlers in raids.

Lincoln had signed the execution order. He had also expressed worry about the rapid speed and lack of evidence presented at military tribunals that led to the death sentences; he commuted the sentences of 265 others who had been tried.

ImageA worker cleaning the graffiti on the toppled statue of Abraham Lincoln in Portland on Monday.
Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

Mr. Trump, who is seeking to make a law-and-order case for re-election, has repeatedly highlighted unrest in Portland. On Monday, he sent a series of tweets about the Portland statues, calling the protesters “animals” and calling for the F.B.I. to help contain them.

“Portland, call in the Feds!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The deployment of federal agents to crack down on Portland protesters earlier this year drew thousands of demonstrators into the street for nightly clashes in front of the federal courthouse. That came after Mr. Trump directed federal agencies to deploy additional personnel to protect statues, monuments and federal property. After state and federal officials came to an agreement to pull back federal agents, the protests have waned in size.

Sunday’s gathering included about 200 people.



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