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Protesters clash with Chicago police in bid to topple Columbus statue

Chicago, US: Running battles between protesters and police erupted on Friday, July 17 at Chicago's Grant Park as demonstrators tried to topple a Christopher Columbus statue while they called for the defunding of the Chicago Police Department.

According to local media, at least 1000 people had earlier gathered for a peaceful rally in support of Black and indigenous people before some of them rushed to the controversial statue, then surrounded it and began throwing objects at police officers who had been following the march.

Reports say several protesters and police officers clashed near the statue, resulting in pepper spray being deployed leaving at least four people injured. NBC footage showed a man scaling the statue with a rope that was tossed up from the crowd in an effort to bring the monument down. Officers eventually pushed back the protesters leaving the statue vandalized but still standing.

During national - and international - protests against racial injustice sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May some demonstrators have taken down or vandalized statues of historical figures such as Robert E. Lee, who led Confederate troops against the United States, and Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.

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