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Christopher Columbus statue in Boston beheaded

Christopher Columbus statue toppled
Christopher Columbus statue toppled 00:56

A Christopher Columbus statue in Boston has been taken down by the city after it was beheaded by protesters — and it is not the only monument of the controversial figure to be toppled this week. A Columbus statue in Virginia was also vandalized, torn down and thrown in a lake on Tuesday night. As protests of police brutality and racial inequality continue nationwide, there is a sweeping movement to remove statues of slave owners and colonizers, as well as Confederate symbols. 

One of the first Europeans in the New World, Christopher Columbus is criticized for his violent treatment and killing of Native Americans. 

In Boston's Christopher Columbus Park, the damaged statue was surrounded by crime scene tape on Wednesday morning as the head lay on the ground, CBS Boston reported. Thursday morning, the statue was removed by city workers and taken into storage.

"This particular statue has been subject to repeated vandalism here in Boston, and given the conversations that we're certainly having right now in our city of Boston and throughout the country, we're also going to take time to assess the historic meaning of this action," Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday.

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The statue's head, damaged overnight, was recovered by the Boston Police Department, as a movement to remove statues commemorating slavers and colonizers continues to sweep across the U.S. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The head of the Boston statue was also cut off in 2006 and in 2015, and the words "Black Lives Matter" were painted across the statue, which was also doused with red paint. 

In Richmond's Byrd Park, the Christopher Columbus statue was covered in paint, torn down and thrown in the park's lake on Tuesday night. The night began with a peaceful protest of about 1,000 people, who gathered to solidarity with indigenous people, CBS affiliate WTVR reports.

The toppling of the monument comes days after protesters took down the statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park.

Earlier this month, several Confederate statues across Alabama were also taken down or vandalized. This comes after the attorney general is reminding cities that there is a fine associated with the removal of these monuments, according to CBS affiliate WIAT.

Robert E. Lee Confederate statue coming down 05:01

Birmingham removed a Confederate monument, Robert E. Lee was taken down in front of a school in Montgomery, and in Mobile, another statue was vandalized.

In Philadelphia last week, a statue of the controversial former police officer and politician Frank Rizzo was removed after protesters vandalized it and tried to tear it down themselves.

It's not just monuments in parks that are being removed. The U.S. Navy announced Tuesday that it is working on an order to ban the display of the Confederate flag, less than a week after the Marine Corps issued its directive to do so.

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