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At least six monuments to white supremacy were torn down across the U.S. on Wednesday as protesters continued to take the removal of racist statues into their own hands.
In Richmond, Virginia, protesters tore down the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on the iconic Monument Avenue.
Protesters toppled the statue just before 11 p.m. on Wednesday night and dragged it from its mount. Police circled the statue to protect it from further vandalism, and videos posted to social media show a large crowd gathered around it. It was eventually loaded onto a truck and driven away as the protesters cheered.
The statue of Davis was one of five statues beheaded or torn down in Virginia on Wednesday night. Eighty miles down the road in Portsmouth, protesters attacked and defaced the Portsmouth Confederate monument, which featured multiple statues.
As police looked on and a marching band played, demonstrators beheaded four Confederate statues before pulling one down using a tow rope on Wednesday night. Video footage shared on social media showed the statue hitting one protester directly on the head as it fell.
One witness, who identified as a Black Lives Matter activist, described what happened.
"It came and fully hit him in the head, and we could see that his skull was actually showing," he told local TV station WAVY. "He was convulsing on the ground. He lost a great amount of blood. And we ask that everybody pray for that man right now.”
A police statement said a man had been seriously injured at the scene and hospitalized.
Responding to questions about police standing back and letting the protesters attack the monument, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said she had not given officers an order to ignore the destruction of property, but said “an elected official” directed them to let vandalism of the Confederate monument to occur — though she refused to name the official, cryptically said saying the person “was on plenty of platforms and media outlets today.”
Hours before the statues in Virginia were brought down, a group of activists tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus on Minnesota's state Capitol ground. A day earlier another statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond was torn down by protesters, set on fire, and submerged in a lake, while in Boston’s North End, a Columbus statue was beheaded.
Cover: The statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis is splattered with paint after it was toppled Wednesday night, June 10, 2020, along Monument Drive in Richmond, Va. (Dylan Garner/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.