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Protesting America's past? Statues of former presidents, other historical monuments vandalized in 4 states over Thanksgiving

Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAYPublished 8:22 p.m. ET Nov. 26, 2020

Historical monuments and statues have been graffitied or toppled in four cities since Wednesday — seemingly in protest of America's past.

The statues and buildings vandalized on Wednesday and Thursday appear to have been targeted in protest of colonialism, gentrification and capitalism.

The words "land back" were spray-painted on statues and buildings in multiple cities. The LANDBACK campaign is an Indigenous movement against white supremacy and for Indigenous food sovereignty, housing, and clean air and water.

In Chicago, vandals tried but failed to topple a park statue of President William McKinley early Wednesday using a rope tethered to a car, police said.

McKinley was president from 1897 to 1901 and his push for westward expansion is now widely criticized as racist, for pushing Indigenous people off their land, WBBM-TV reported. 

In Portland, Oregon, protesters broke windows and sprayed graffiti, including the words 'land back,' on several markets early Thursday, according to a police press release announcing three arrests.

A monument at Portland's Lone Fir Cemetery, dedicated in 1903 to the veterans of the Civil War, Mexican, Spanish, and Indian wars, was tagged with anti-colonialism graffiti and its statue toppled and sprayed with red paint.

Photos of the vandalism spread on social media on Thanksgiving Day, though police did not immediately confirm the reports. 

In Portland, Oregon, protesters broke windows and sprayed graffiti, including the words 'land back,' on several markets early Thursday, according to a police press release announcing three arrests.

 A monument at Portland's Lone Fir Cemetery, dedicated in 1903 to the veterans of the Civil War, Mexican, Spanish, and Indian wars, was tagged with anti-colonialism graffiti and its statue toppled and sprayed with red paint.

Photos of the vandalism spread on social media on Thanksgiving Day, though police did not immediately confirm the reports.

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