US protesters topple, torch Columbus statue and throw it into a lake

A statue of Christopher Columbus is in the water at Byrd Park in Richmond, after it was torn down by protesters. (AP pic)

RICHMOND: Anti-racism protesters in Virginia tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus on Tuesday night in Byrd park in Richmond, then draped it in a burning flag and dumped it into a lake, images of the incident posted on social media showed.

A wave of demonstrations has swept across the United States and Europe following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, 46, died after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was held face down in a street in Minneapolis on May 25.

Some of the civil action around the world has focused on monuments glorifying countries’ imperialist past, which some people see as offensive in today’s multi-ethnic society.

Protesters have torn down statues linked to empires and the slave trade.

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451 and his voyages across the Atlantic opened the way for European colonisation of the Americas.

He first arrived in the Americas on Oct 12, 1492, a date marked as Columbus Day in the United States, a federal holiday.